By now the research has shown that sleep deprivation comes at a high cost. When we don’t get enough sleep it’s more difficult to retain memories, increases the risk of an accident and negatively affects mood among many other things.
Some people resort to medications when they can’t fall asleep and stay asleep. But medical sleep aids could be just as detrimental to your health as sleep deprivation. The medications also fail to address the underlying issues that are causing sleep problems.
The truth is there are a number of natural solutions that have been shown to improve sleep without the risk of adverse reactions. Oftentimes, all it takes is making a few adjustments to your schedule and environment to get a good night’s sleep.
Start by Examining Your Mattress
An uncomfortable mattress that doesn’t provide adequate support will keep anyone up at night. Even a mattress that once felt perfectly fine can give way overtime after years of use.
When the experts at Bedding Mart are asked to make mattress suggestions they start with learning more about a person’s preference for firmness. Typically, body weight can be a factor in determining the correct firmness level.
Mattresses range from very soft to extremely firm, and some options can be adjusted. The mattress should be comfortable enough to lie on but firm enough to provide support.
Injuries are another key consideration along with sleeping position. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine found that changing your bedding system can significantly reduce pain and improved sleep quality.
If your mattress is more than 10 years old, there are signs of sagging or it doesn’t feel as supportive as it did before, then it’s time to consider investing in a new mattress.
Eliminate Sound and Light
Both sound and light can easily disturb sleep. It’s particularly troublesome when the noise or lighting isn’t constant.
Most people sleep best when their bedroom is devoid of all light. This includes light from smartphones and devices. The blue light emitted by electronics can lower melatonin levels, which makes sleep regulation more difficult.
Shut down all screens at least a half hour before bed. Two simple solutions for eliminating other lights include blackout curtains and an eyemask.
A white noise machine can be used to create a constant, low volume sound that drowns out random noises. Weather-proofing around windows is another way to minimize noise from outside.
Create a Nightly Bedtime Routine
It’s amazing how routines and habits impact brain functioning. The motions that we go through each day sends cues to the brain that prime it for activity. If you’re going one hundred miles a minute right up to bedtime your braining isn’t gearing up for rest.
Sleep specialists recommend going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day. Establishing a regular schedule helps your brain and body recognize when it’s time to sleep so shut-eye comes easier.
Come up with a nightly bedtime routine that’s about 30 minutes long and doesn’t include any screen time. That way there’s no illumination keeping your brain awake and you aren’t tempted to surf the web instead of sleeping.
Eating and drinking just before bed can also keep your gut active and disturb sleep. Alcohol and caffeine should be completely avoided.
Alcoholic beverages may make it easier to fall asleep, but researchers have discovered that drinking alcohol within an hour of bedtime increases the chance of waking up in the middle of the night.
Stress is one thing that keeps millions of people up at night, literally. Of the 40 million Americans with some form of insomnia, stress is a leading cause alongside offer conditions like sleep apnea.
Daily meditation is an effective way to calm the mind and reduce stress. As little as five minutes of meditation has been shown to be beneficial. Meditation can be done at any time of day, so including it in your bedtime routine could help ease stress before bed.
Journaling is another way to put yourself at ease before bedtime. Making notes of gratitude for good things that happened during the day can provide an immediate mood boost. Writing out a list of things that need to be done can also get subconscious fears or concerns out of your head so you can sleep.