Getting enough sleep is one of the keys to maintaining good health. Adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night, but many people fall short of this nightly goal. Approximately 35% of males and 39% of females in the U.S. don’t get enough sleep regularly.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, it’s important to make some changes to avoid the severe consequences of sleep deprivation. Here are four tips and techniques that will help you finally get a good night’s sleep:
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle — it tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. The production of this hormone is controlled by exposure to light. The brain produces more melatonin when it’s dark and less when it’s light.
To get more sleep, manage your body’s melatonin production by controlling your exposure to light. Use heavy curtains or a sleep mask to block out as much light as possible at night. Avoid looking at the bright screen of your smartphone, tablet, computer, or TV within one to two hours of bedtime. If you get up in the middle of the night, try not to turn on the lights, which will make it harder to fall back asleep.
If stress and anxiety are keeping you up at night, turn to meditation to put your mind at ease before trying to sleep .
There are many sleep apps that will guide you through the process of relaxing your body and mind. Sessions vary in length. Many are only ten minutes long, so you can easily fit one into your bedtime routine.
A number of environmental factors, including noise, temperature, and tidiness, can impact the quality of your sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, making changes to your sleep environment could help.
Start by setting the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, which researchers believe is the ideal temperature range for sleeping. Reduce noise by turning your TV off. If you can’t eliminate noise from outside, turn on a fan or sound machine to mask it.
Finally, clean up before getting into bed. Studies have shown that sleeping in a cluttered room can interfere with sleep and lead to sleep disorders.
It’s also helpful to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
A consistent schedule impacts your body’s internal clock, which makes it easier to fall asleep at night and get out of bed in the morning. You may not even need an alarm clock to wake up once your body has fully acclimated to your new sleep schedule.
Sleep is essential, so try to make it a priority in your life. Implement some of these strategies tonight so you can finally get the sleep you need to maintain optimal health.