Did you know that just shy of half of the people living in the United States do not get the recommended minimum hours of sleep per night? According to specialists, it is recommended that you get an average of at least seven hours of sleep at night. A large portion of those affected are school children and adolescents, with around 70% of them not getting as much sleep as they need, which can continue into adulthood.
A lack of sufficient sleep can affect the body in a plethora of negative ways, which is why sleep is so important. A lack of sufficient sleep has been linked to and has an association with increased risk of heart disease, strokes, mental health issues, accidents ranging from clumsiness to car accidents, and even death in adults. Sleep deprivation in adolescence has been connected to decreased cognitive function and even increased risk of depression.
Now that you know why sleep deprivation is so dangerous you’ll be pleased to know that there are a few things that you can do to lessen the external factors that disrupt your sleep. Here are a few changes to make to your lifestyle (some subtle and some more specific) that will help you sleep better at night.
Assess Light and Noise Around Your Room
Are you a light sleeper? If you want to know why you’re struggling to sleep, take a little look around your room. Take note of the sounds and the light levels.
Background noise could be coming from inside the house, or something outside. It is difficult to control the noise levels that are generated by others, but there are ways that you can try and block them out. White noise machines can drown out bothersome sounds, and if that still doesn’t work for you invest in a comfy pair of earplugs.
Light is very disruptive to sleep. Your body naturally wakes up in the presence of light, as light stops the release of melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. Bright light in your room, as well as light from a phone, TV, computer screen, etc all affect your ability to fall asleep as well as harder to stay asleep. Limit screen time before bed and set your screen to a night light or eye comfort mode. This makes your screen yellow and neutralizes your blue light intake, which is guilty of keeping you awake.
Increase your physical activities if you want to sleep better. Beat that waking up tired feeling and do something physical. People sleep better on days they exercise, which sounds dreadful to some, but exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Going for a little walk through a park, or around your neighborhood counts, too.
If you are someone who is going to use this as a sign to get sweaty and really change things up, that’s great, too, and will really help you sleep better. You should avoid exercising too close to bedtime because it could interfere with you falling asleep. Exercise in the morning to wake up and start your day off with a bang.
Eat for Better Sleep
It might be strange to think that what you eat has an impact on how well you sleep. Everything from the timing of your meals to how you eat is really important in helping you sleep better. When you skip meals or eat late at night you throw your body off your circadian rhythm leading to a restless night. Eating healthy meals also helps your body to sleep better.
Optimize Your Space For Sleep
Usually, people go away and they say how much they miss their own bed, but have you ever been somewhere and slept better than you do at home? This is typical among people whose room space is not optimized for sleep. A few upgrades that prioritize your comfort will help you get the sleep you desperately need.
The first thing you should do to upgrade your sleep space is to get the best mattress for you. If your mattress feels uncomfortable and aggravates pain or discomfort in your body you need a different mattress. One size does not fit all. Your weight, as well as sleeping habits all, play a role in the type of mattress you should be sleeping on.
If your mattress is not the issue, look at your sleepwear and bedding. Good quality sleepwear and bedding have an effect on temperature control. Becoming too hot at night means that you’ll sweat, which usually wakes you up.
If you don’t want to do any of that, set your thermostat to a slightly cooler temperature before bed, because the body will be more comfortable sleeping at a cooler temperature at night, than during the day.
Repaint Your Room
Your mind reacts differently to different colors. You can also create a soothing environment by repainting and decorating a room using colors that promote sleep. You can look online for what these are, or you can choose a color that makes you happy. A study found that people fell asleep faster in a room filled with a color they liked than they did in a room filled with a color they did not like.
If you know that you are a stressor and your anxiety keeps you awake, consider having something light pink that you use in your sleep space. Pink is the color of security and a pastel pink calms the mind in a gentle way.
Use a Diffuser
You might be one of those people who laugh at the idea of aromatherapy, but a relaxing scent can improve your sleep. The scent of lavender has been shown to improve the quality of sleep in adults and children alike. You can use a humidifier that also diffuses scent into the air or a reed stick.
If you don’t like essential oils and are more of a use it directly from the source sort of person, go ahead. A living plant, freshly cut or even dried lavender can improve both the smell and look of your bedroom and help you enjoy a better night’s sleep.
Sleep is so incredibly important in order for your body to function. It affects both your mental and physical health. Making a few changes to your lifestyle and your room can do a whole world of wonders to your sleeping patterns. If none of these have helped in the past consider seeing a doctor to right your sleeplessness.