You’ve undoubtedly heard that sleep is essential to your well being, but how important is it to get enough rest?
With changing routines due to the global pandemic, you may find your regular sleep schedule has been disrupted.
You may have experienced changes in your work or school activities. It might feel like you have no consistency with your schedule at all.
How can you make sure you get good quality rest despite changes in your everyday routine? Let’s take a look.
The Importance of Quality Sleep:
Why do our bodies need sleep, and what happens while we are getting some shut eye? The body takes care of numerous restorative processes during sleep.
Getting enough rest is correlated with healthy brain function and emotional well being. While you sleep, your brain gets ready for the next day by preparing neural pathways. Learning capacity has also been shown to be related to the amount of sleep you get.
Sleep is part of the process needed to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. As a result, not getting enough rest puts you at higher risk for conditions like stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Lack of adequate sleep is also correlated with obesity. Sleep affects hunger cues as well as how the human body responds to insulin, which controls blood sugar.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be as productive and efficient during the day. You’ll tend to make more mistakes, take longer to perform your tasks, and have a slower reaction time. Your cognition suffers and as many studies have concluded, your choices are not based on good calculation and reason.
6 Important Sleep Guidelines:
1. Set a Schedule.
The human body responds best to a consistent bedtime. It’s ideal to keep the same schedule for going to bed and waking up even on the weekend. In this way, you regulate your body’s internal clock, which helps you get to sleep and stay asleep.
2. Practice a Relaxing Bedtime Routine.
Prepare yourself for sleep by following a ritual that avoids excitement and bright lights during the hour or so before bedtime. Choose activities that calm you, so that your body can prepare itself for sleep.
3. Make Sure Your Mattress and Pillows are Comfortable.
Uncomfortable mattresses can make it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep. Make sure you have a quality mattress that isn’t past its prime.
Even the best on the market need to be replaced at least every ten years. This comprehensive post about the best foam mattresses at Parade defines what types of foam mattress are best for your body type.
Pillows are also an essential part of comfort while sleeping. Choose a pillow with the right thickness and firmness for you based on your sleeping position. If your pillow is not the right height, you can end up with neck and shoulder pain.
4. Exercise Every Day.
Exercise tends to help people get to sleep more easily. Physical activity, especially when vigorous, can raise the body’s temperature a few degrees. When the body returns to its normal temperature, feelings of sleepiness come more easily.
Exercise done in the morning or afternoon is the most advantageous. Doing strenuous physical activity close to bedtime can cause sleeplessness.
5. Use Light to Your Advantage.
Exposing yourself to bright light in the morning will help your brain get the message that it’s time to be awake. By the same logic, reducing light levels in the hours before bedtime communicates to your body’s control center that it should start slowing down for sleep.
Some people have difficulty sleeping after working on the computer or using electronic devices like cell phones and tablets. If this is true for you, stay away from screens during the time before bedtime. You can also check if your device has a color scheme that reduces the blue tones that keep you awake.
For those with persistent problems due to the blue end of the spectrum from computer monitors and other such screens, it may be beneficial to get special glasses that filter out the blue light.
6. Evaluate Your Environment.
Your bedroom needs to be conducive to sleep. In order to make this true, you may need to adjust the temperature or reduce light and noise.
Temperature. How’s the temperature of your bedroom? In general, cooler temperatures of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit are more conducive to sleep. If it’s significantly hotter or colder than this, you may have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.
Lighting. What about the lighting? If you live in a place with a lot of outdoor illumination at night, you may need to invest in blackout curtains or use eyeshades. Turn off or cover any lights from electronic devices or speakers in your room.
Noise. Is your bedroom noisy? Sounds from the street or a partner’s snoring can interfere with your sleep. If you have problems falling asleep because of noise, you may want to try earplugs. Fans, humidifiers, or other devices that produce white noise can also help block out some troublesome sounds.
What You Can Do to Ensure Quality Sleep:
Sleep is essential to physical and mental health and affects performance during the day.
Quality sleep enables us to work to our full potential and have healthier relationships.
To ensure you’re getting the best sleep possible, even during uncertain times, you can do the following.
Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time.
When you have a consistent time for waking up and going to sleep you are programming your body to naturally get sleepy when your sleeping time comes.
Have a Badtime Routine.
Do calming activities for an hour or two before bedtime. You can read a book, or watch a video that relaxes you, or an episode of your favorite TV show that puts you in a relaxed state of mind. When you do such activities every day you will program yourself and your body to know when it’s time to get into a sleepy state.
Make Sure You are Comfortable.
Use a comfortable mattress and pillows. See what works for you and get yourself the best combination for easing the sleeping process.
Stay Active Daily.
You don’t need to exercise every single day, but stay active. Move your body. Go for a walk, stretch or just dance to your favorite music. Our bodies were made to be in movement and they need movement in order to function as they should. You will see how easy it’s falling to sleep after you are active during the day.
Create an Environment for Sleeping.
Train your body’s clock with light in the morning and less illumination at night. Sleep in a place that is a comfortable temperature with the least amount of light and noise possible.
With the global pandemic we might all experience some trouble relaxing. Unexpected changes in your routine can make it more challenging to get a good night’s sleep. However, with a little planning and self discipline, you can get back on track.