Since sleep medical professionals point to sleep as a primary contributing factor to many common diseases, it’s obvious that it’s not just important but crucial to sleep well.
Fortunately, those same sleep medical professionals have also discovered the conditions that determine our quality of sleep.
Simple lifestyle changes can have you sleeping like a baby in no time.
Here are five tips to explore before you even think about asking your doctor for a sleeping aid or buying one over the counter.
1. Invest in a quality mattress. Getting a enjoyable night’s rest may be as easy as getting a new sleeping surface. Many people report that memory foam mattresses allowed them to completely relax and sleep deeply for the first time in their lives. Indulge in the very best bed linens you can afford, too. Sheets with at least a 300 thread count are smooth and luxurious, and your blankets and comforters should also give you a feeling of being pampered. Some mattress retailers offer free sheets or comforters when you buy a new mattress, but these are characteristically of a cheaper quality as they are a free add-on for buying the mattress. When it comes to bedding, the best things in life are not free.
2. Put your body on a schedule. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning (yup, weekends too) puts your body on a regimented resting pattern. After a while, it will “expect” to sleeping at a set time, and you might not even need an alarm clock to get up for work. (You’ll find that your day starts out much better when you wake naturally rather than being jarred awake by an alarm.)
3. Create a relaxed sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be quiet and dark. Even the smallest amount bit of sound or luminosity-such as the ticking of a clock or a light left on outside-can interfere with your sleep, even though the person sleeping may not be aware of it. Do what you have to: A sleep mask and room darkening blinds will screen out the brightness; earplugs and “white noise” like a rotating fan can help with interfering noises. The best temperature for sleeping is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Most bodies begin to overheat over 75 degrees, and any temperature below 60 degrees is too cold for the body to relax.
4. Calm down. Stress is a real sleep killer. Look for ways to distress prior to going to sleep. Do a bit of light reading, meditate, try various mellow stretches, or enjoy an herbal bath.
5. Protect your sleep from the great caffine caper. Caffeine stays in your system longer than you might realize-up to 8 hours. For better sleep, you should prohibit caffeine intake at least six hours before you go to sleep. Remember that pop drinks, most teas, and chocolate all contain enough caffine to interfere with your sleep.