Sleep is very important to human health and one of the few things we truly cannot live without. The negative effects of poor sleep, both reflected in hours and quality, can be disastrous to our health and affect many areas of our lives. People with poor sleeping habits are at a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, and depression. Good sleep is as good or arguably better for you than most other habits you can develop. Sleep has been proven to be pivotal to human health, and these are a few ways you can improve your sleep quality:
Reduce Electronic Usage Before Bed
Many of us are guilty of using our phones or screens right before bed or even falling asleep, but science has shown that exposure to blue light negatively affects our sleep quality. Blue light makes our brain restless and decreases melatonin production, which can greatly impact the deepness of our sleep. A great way to minimize blue light exposure is not using your phone or screens an hour or at least thirty minutes before bed. This can help your body adjust to knowing that it is nighttime and increase the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Consume Caffeine At Least 8 Hours Before Bed
Caffeine is the most used substance in America, and many Americans could not bear to give up their caffeine. The good news is you do not have to. Caffeine is great for energy and focus, which are two qualities you do not want right before bed. Caffeine stimulates your nerves and stops your body from relaxing, which is great for work but terrible for sleep. As long as the caffeine is consumed well before bed, it should not impact sleep quality or quantity. Caffeine may feel active for only several hours, but its effects can be observed in your system for up to eight hours. It is ideal to not drink caffeine less than eight hours before bed. It will likely decrease your sleep quality, and some individuals may find it hard to fall asleep altogether.
Be Consistent With Your Sleep Schedule
Our body has a natural sleep timer: the circadian rhythm. It can be tampered with if you do not prioritize sleeping and waking up at similar times. Those with irregular sleeping schedules will likely experience poor sleep due to the dysfunction it causes to the nervous system. Melatonin levels and the circadian rhythm can be greatly disrupted and confused with extended periods of irregular sleep. Being consistent with your sleep schedule can stop you from relying on an alarm as your body can naturally tell when you want to wake up and sleep.
Set Your Bedroom Up For Success
Some people are much more sensitive sleepers than others, and key factors such as light, temperature, and noise can severely impact their sleep quality. Try to make your bedroom as quiet as possible by moving your bed away from windows and limiting as much light as possible when it is bedtime. A great addition to any bedroom is blackout curtains which completely obstruct light from peeking into the windows, and they can be moved away in the morning when you want natural light. Keeping your bedroom quiet and dark can lead to many nights of peaceful sleep.
Body temperatures can also greatly affect your sleeping conditions, so be sure to optimize your home’s temperature for your sleep. It is often difficult to sleep if a room is too warm, and our body temperature naturally drops as we sleep, and a hot room can decrease sleep quality and quantity. Choosing the best temperature for you will be a personal journey as sleepers may run hotter or colder than others.
Have a Nighttime Routine That is Focused on Unwinding
Having a nighttime routine is a great way to relax before bed. Stress has one of the largest effects on sleep, and de-stressing right before bed can greatly increase your sleep quality. Some great things to add to your nighttime routine for de-stressing are meditating, reading, and taking a warm shower or bath. Warm showers and baths can help relieve muscle fatigue and stress, which will improve sleep quality. If you are short on time, consider taking a warm foot bath instead for similar results.
Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine
Exercise is healthy for your body and sleep schedule. Regular exercise has been known to reduce insomnia in people and halve the time it takes to fall asleep. As long as it is not right before bed, getting regular exercise can greatly improve sleep quality and quantity.