You have one life to live, and most of us understand the importance of doing things now that will benefit the quality of our lives later. From eating right and exercising to going to the doctor for regular checkups and more, there’s a lot we can do to maintain the integrity of our bodies and age gracefully. However, there’s an aspect that makes a bigger difference than most give it credit for. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs between seven and eight full hours of sleep each night in order for the body to:
- Repair muscles
- Grow new tissues
- Release growth hormones necessary to grow and develop
- Restore energy levels
There’s more to sleep than many people acknowledge, and it’s crucial that you get enough rest and relaxation in order to reduce your risk of the development of a number of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even premature mortality. There are a few things you can do to manage proper sleep patterns and enjoy a higher quality of life.
This may sound simple but… turn down your thermostat. You sleep much better in a cooler room covered in blankets or duvets to keep you warm. If you get too hot you can always throw a leg out to help yourself cool down.
Another option is to invest in some cooling sleep technology. Cooling mattress pads actually help to control your body heat so that you aren’t too cold or too hot. This makes a considerable difference in how well we sleep.
Consider Lighting Changes
The body is designed to recognize patterns, and this certainly holds true when it comes to sleep. Most of us naturally become sleepy at night when the sun goes down. In order to ensure you’re ready to close your eyes for the day at the right time, consider making lighting changes in your home to be enjoyed during the hours before bedtime. The goal is to decrease the intensity of the lighting so you can adjust to a dimmer room and encourage the body to prepare for upcoming sleep.
When the temperatures are in the mid to upper 60’s, they’re right to help the body transition to bedtime. Consider installing LED lights on your car and using them to offer slight illumination while you wind down reading or relaxing on the porch. These lights can even help you create a sleek look on your vehicle while getting you physically prepared for restful sleep.
Lose the Electronics
As our society becomes increasingly reliant on electronic devices, our collective sleep quality suffers. When you engage in conversations on social media, watch videos, or just read news articles on illuminated screens, your brain remains active, and you don’t allow it the proper transition to more easily fall asleep when it’s time to do so.
While it may be met with resistance, encourage your household to put a ban on the use of electronics two hours before bedtime, and this isn’t limited to mobile devices. You should even turn off the television. You’ll be surprised to find with what ease you can fall asleep when you’ve allowed your body the natural transition it needs to fall asleep.
Weigh the Pros and Cons of a Late Night
We’ve all had late nights. From staying up all night to study for an exam to rushing to finish the final details of a big work project and more, it can be difficult to fall asleep knowing what lies ahead the next morning. While it may seem to be responsible to stay up late to complete your obligations, first consider the consequences. When you fail to get the sleep you need, your energy levels won’t be optimal the next day. Therefore, even if you do stay up for three extra hours the night before, you’ll suffer for eight the next day, decreasing your overall productivity.
Stress can be a significant hindrance to the enjoyment of proper sleep, and it can be difficult to shut off our thoughts when we have something important coming up. In order to combat that, you have to allow yourself to put it in the back of your mind temporarily while you let your body perform the rejuvenation you need to competently tackle any problem you may face. When you have an important event coming up, prepare the night before by:
- Ceasing any work on the project at hand no less than two hours before bedtime
- Reading a book before bed
- Not eating anything within two hours of going to bed
- Turning off all lights in your bedroom to allow your body restful sleep
Making Every Minute Count
When you sleep, you allow your body to go through a number of sleep stages and accomplish many important functions to help keep your body healthy and maintained. However, in such a busy world, it can be easy to neglect the proper amount of sleep we really need. By following these tips, you can let old habits die while you work on developing good ones that will help you more easily manage your sleep and make every minute count.