5 Tips To Improve Sleep Quality

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Sleep: It seems like something we never get just the right amount of. For those of us who get less sleep than we’d like, it’s easy to forget the importance of it. On the other hand, it can be counterproductive to get too much sleep. So how much is really enough? According to the CDC, adults between the ages of 18-60 require about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Those who are younger require more sleep. While getting the necessary hours in are important, the sleep quality you are getting is just as important. Signs of poor sleep quality include:

  • Not feeling rested even after getting enough sleep
  • Repeatedly waking up during the night
  • Experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders (ex: snoring, gasping for air)

So now we know how much sleep we need to function well. Now, let’s go over 5 tips on how to improve our sleep quality.

1. Be Consistent!

Creating a mental sleep schedule for yourself is one of the best ways to improve your sleep quality. This allows your body to get in sync with your natural circadian rhythm, thus allowing you to feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. This still applies even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two. A good way to know if you’re going to bed at the right time is if you naturally wake up without an alarm.If you are late, then setting your bedtime a bit earlier may be needed. 

Another important thing to note is that in order for your body to get used to a schedule, you cannot break it even on the weekends. This means that the more your sleep schedule differs between your weekdays and the weekend, the more you’ll be negatively affected with bad sleep. Moreover, it is good to know that it is a myth that catching up on sleep is possible. You cannot make up for lost sleep. If you wish to pay off a sleep debt, it is more beneficial to take a daytime nap rather than sleep in.

2. Create The Right Atmosphere In Your Room

How can you expect great sleep if the environment in which you sleep is drowning in bright lights, loud noises, and uncomfortable surfaces to relax on. It’d be ridiculous to expect good sleep under these conditions, so it doesn’t make sense as to why many of us purposely browse through our social media or Netflix in hopes of this tiring us out. 

According to a Harvard study, it can helpful to create an environment in which the bedroom is solely used for sleeping and sex. A good way to think about how to keep your bedroom as a sleep-inducing environment is to think of bats...let me explain. Similar to a bat’s cave, our sleep environment should be kept as a quiet, cool (between 60-75 degrees fahrenheit) , and dark place. These three standards will allow you to truly feel at ease at the end of the night and help you get that much-needed rest after a long day.

3. Exercise During the Day

If done several hours before bed, exercising can improve sleep quality. When you exercise, your brain secretes the stress hormone called cortisol, which stimulates the alert system in your brain. Thus, it can be counterproductive to exercise close to your bedtime as this natural process can impact your ability to fall asleep. You should keep exercise at least three hours away from the time you want to sleep to not impact its quality. Depending on each person, you may need to move your workout times earlier to work better for your specific needs.

4. Avoid Eating Late At Night

We’ve all been there...it’s 12am...you’re feeling bored and slightly hungry. It doesn't help when all you see on tv are commercials of your favourite fast food places promoting their newest menu additions. Even if you’re better than most and find no appeal in junk food, it can still be a bad idea to eat so close to the time you go to sleep. Not only can eating late slow down your body’s metabolism, but it can also make it difficult to digest the food which can result in weight gain. It’s not necessarily an issue to eat a healthy snack late at night. The issue really derives from eating foods rich in carbohydrates, sugars, and unhealthy fats. 

5. Remove Electronic Devices From The Bedroom

This tip correlates with tip number two, creating the right atmosphere in your room. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep. All these devices can be considered sources of distraction and sleep disruption. The idea is to omit any source of light from keeping you awake. Aside from its impact on sleep quality, long-term exposure to blue light (light emitted from electronic screens) can result in skin damage, including color changes, inflammation, and weakening of the skin's surface. Moreover, blue light promotes stressors in skin that cause photo-aging; that is, aging from exposure to light.

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