When it comes to your health, there’s nothing quite as important as sleep. And not just any sleep – high-quality sleep for a sufficient amount of time. The recommended amount of sleep varies depending on your age, but for most adults, 7-9 hours is needed for optimal health.
That said, getting good sleep for the recommended amount of time isn’t always as easy as it sounds. From daily stressors to improper sleeping habits, rest can sometimes seem impossible. However, if you know a few sleeping secrets, you can start getting the best sleep of your life as soon as tonight.
Everyone deserves an excellent night’s sleep. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to sleep properly.
Optimize Your Bedroom for Sleep
It can be tempting to use your bedroom for more than just sleeping, especially for those of us who live in smaller spaces. But in order to get the best sleep possible, it’s important to use your bedroom for sleep and sex only. The goal is to create an association between your bedroom and sleep in your brain.
Minimize Light and Sound
Your bedroom should be a space of peace and quiet, with as little light disruption as possible. Do your best to keep both noise and light to a minimum.
If you have street lights or other light sources outside of your window, consider hanging blackout curtains or wearing a sleep mask to bed. If you find that you wake often due to noises outside of your home, sleep with a white noise machine near your bed or earplugs in your ears.
Choose the Right Mattress and Bedding
Your bed is also important. You might be surprised by how much your mattress and bedding can affect your sleep.
Your mattress should be firm enough to support your body, but soft enough that it’s comfortable to sleep on.
In terms of bedding, look for fabric that feels comfortable and maintains a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Feeling too hot or too cold will make it almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep.
Perfect Your Sleep Schedule
Humans are creatures of habit, which is why it’s so easy to fall into destructive routines. It’s also why perfecting your sleep schedule is crucial to help you sleep.
First, you need to have specific times in which you go to sleep and wake up. You should wake up and go to bed at approximately the same time every night (yes, even on the weekends).
A good way to do this is to determine what time you need to wake up on a typical morning and work backward from there. Let’s say, for example, that you need to be up by 7 am. Working backward and giving yourself eight hours of sleep, you would need to be asleep by 11 pm every night.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you jump into bed at 11 pm and expect sleep to come. If at all possible, you should be in be winding down at least an hour before bedtime. Which brings us to your bedtime routine.
Create a Bedtime Routine
A strong bedtime routine is often the key to falling asleep fast and sleeping well. Having a set of activities you do every night leading up to bedtime will train your body and mind to begin preparing for sleep as you do them. By the time you get to your bed, you should find yourself falling asleep effortlessly.
Your bedtime routine should be a minimum of 30 minutes in length, preferably an hour. As you enter your bedtime window, put all of your electronics away. The blue light emitted from them suppresses your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Instead of scrolling your phone, take a warm bath, practice yoga or meditation, or read quietly in your bed. Dim the lights and allow your body to naturally transition to sleep through peaceful activities.
Build Positive Habits to Fall Asleep
Sometimes, even the best bedtime routine can’t lull us off to sleep. When this happens, you need to have a few positive habits to fall back on so that you don’t spend hours wondering “what will help me sleep?”.
Practicing relaxation techniques can be incredibly helpful when you find that you’re struggling to fall asleep. Focus on relaxing your body through controlled breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
Don’t worry, this is easier than it sounds.
While lying flat on your back in bed, focus your complete attention on the muscles of your body, beginning in your face. Relax each muscle, one by one, making your way down until your entire body is at ease.
If, after trying to fall back asleep for 20 minutes, you’re still lying awake, get out of bed. Trying to force sleep on yourself will only cause stress, making it even more difficult to drift off. Choose a relaxing activity from your bedtime routine and do that instead until you feel sleep coming on again.
Improve Your Health With These Sleeping Secrets
Even if your diet and exercise are perfect, you won’t achieve optimal health without proper sleep.
Making use of these sleeping secrets will help you take your health to the next level, improving everything from your brain function to your energy levels. It can even help you lose weight! Keep these facts in mind next time you consider drinking an afternoon coffee or scrolling your phone before bed.
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