It is safe to say that most of us know how detrimental a lack of sleep can be to our bodies. That's why it is crucial that we do everything we can to ensure that we get enough sleep.
However, this is easier said than done. A combination of little exercise, a bad diet and staring at brightly lit screens all day wreaks havoc on our biological clocks. To help you get back on good terms with Mr. Sandman, we're going to share a few useful tips.
1. Don't Hit the Snooze Button
This first tip might seem obvious, but how many of us never use the snooze button? That's what I thought. Even if you only have enough time for a few hours of rest, snoozing can be counterproductive. Why? Because sleeping for an extra 5 or 10 minutes messes with your body's routine and sleep cycles.
Most of us remember at least once feeling rested after a very short nap. However, this is rare as you might already know. What usually happens is that you end up even more tired because, just as you fall asleep again, you are jolted once again by the alarm. If you are used to getting up at 8 am, stick to your routine. Finally, don't just wake up; get out of bed as well. By continuing to lie there, you are telling your body that it's still time to rest. And this brings us to our next point.
2. Let the Sunshine in
Some cells in our eyes don't have anything to do with vision, as scientist have found out in recent years. Instead, they take in light so that our body can set our circadian clock. It's then obvious that light has a significant impact on sleep.
If you expose yourself to sunlight in the morning, your body and mind will be stimulated. This will boost your energy, alertness and make you wake up easier. As soon as you get out of bed, open the blinds, open the curtains and turn on some more lights if necessary. This will send signals to your brain that it's time to get up and get going.
3. Get Up and Exercise
Yes, we realize that we're not revealing any secrets long kept from the rest of humanity, but some things just work. Getting out of bed is the first step and being active is the second one. A great habit to work towards to is doing cardio in the morning. This could be as simple as taking a brisk walk or even going for a few laps around the block. Moving your body promotes healthy blood circulation, which in turn improves alertness and attention. If you don't believe us, try to sleep while you are running.
Being physically active in the morning will not only wake you up but you will also feel better due to the release of serotonin. This will put you in a better mood during the day, which also increases your chances of having a good night's sleep. Just as you get into vicious cycles, you can get out of them.
4. Don't Take Your Electronics to Bed
We're living in the age of technology, so it's quite common for us to be spending most of our time in front of an electronic screen. It could be a TV, computer, or smartphone, but the effects are the same, especially when it comes to bedtime.
After a long day, many of us may think it's a good idea to relax by taking your smartphone or laptop to bed, and a lot of us like to watch TV, but we should think again. These electronics emit a blue light, which affects melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body when the sun goes down to induce sleep. But if you're looking at a smartphone before snoozing off, guess what happens?
To make sure you are well-rested in the morning, avoid bringing these devices with you to bed. Instead, make sure to give yourself time to wind down and provide a suitable sleeping environment. Turn your phone off or set it to night mode and turn your TV off before you fall asleep.
5. Get A Good Mattress
We have finally made it to the last piece of the puzzle or the first, depending on how you look at it – the mattress. Sleeping like a baby or tossing and turning through the night can have a lot to do with what you are sleeping on.
We all have a sophisticated network of capillaries under our skin that carries blood through the body. It doesn't matter what position you sleep in; there's always one part of your body that gets compressed. A bed that is too hard might cause a reduced blood flow and discomfort. If you don't feel comfortable, you roll around during the night, which can interrupt your sleep each time even though it restores blood flow. Conversely, a bed that is too soft poses problems of its own. For instance, you might sink in too deep and experience neck, shoulder or back pain.
Finding the right mattress for you can pose a challenge, but arming yourself with valuable information will help you come to the right decision. You shouldn't be afraid to try out new things; the technology behind mattresses has come a long way. Manufacturers now use various approaches and often combine different materials for better comfort. If you have an old and uncomfortable bed, you owe it to yourself to get a new one.
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.