- 10 things to do to get a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health and to carrying out the various tasks that make up life. And while most of us struggle to get those coveted eight hours, we do like to think that we can manage with less.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should sleep at least seven hours each night, yet one-third of adults sleep less than that. Sleep deprivation is a major problem because of how it can negatively impact health. For example, sleep deprivation increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes, among other problems.
Although sleep seems like an easy part of our day, make sure you do the following so you get a good night’s sleep.
10 things to do to get a good night’s sleep
1. Wear the right clothing
Your body temperature plays a part in your sleep cycle—and a slight drop in temperature is what induces sleep. So, make sure that you are wearing comfortable clothing. Silk pajamas are ideal because they keep you warm when you’re cold and cool when you’re hot. If silk is too pricey, try breathable cotton in warmer months and cozy flannel during colder ones.
2. Ditch that nightcap
You may think that a glass of wine might put you to sleep. However, alcohol actually prevents you from sinking into the deeper stages of sleep and you end up feeling tired when you wake up. Another thing is, that your antidiuretic hormone levels drop, forcing your kidneys to produce more urine and you wake up for bathroom trips in the middle of the night. So annoying!
3. Put that phone away!
It can be tempting to catch up with your favorite show after you settle in bed. But research shows that blue wavelength light from LED-based devices like phones, tablets, TVs, and laptops increases the release of cortisol in the brain
(making you more alert) while inhibiting the production of melatonin (the hormone that lulls you to sleep). People who read an e-book before bed take longer to fall asleep and release less melatonin than those who read a paperback.
4. Keep that light out
Your circadian rhythm is ruled, in part, by lightness and darkness, so even the smallest slit of light can upset it. Make sure the blinds are drawn completely and consider low-wattage lamps to help you relax before bed.
5. Turn down the heat
The temperature of your bedroom can interfere with your body temperature’s natural rise and fall, which is linked to your sleep cycle. A cool room (around 65 degrees) is ideal for a good night’s sleep.
6. Renew your old mattress
We all have that comfy mattress that we love. But it can very well leave you with a backache, cutting into your sleep time. The result? You wake up tired and achy. The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress about every eight years.
Forgot when you got that mattress? All you have to do is check your mattress. Does it have saggy spots around the middle or edges? These are signs that it is time to get a new one. The same goes for your pillows—your neck will thank you. To check if you need to change your pillow, just fold it in half. If it bounces back into shape, great. If not, get a new one.
7. Take off your contact lenses
Unless your lenses are approved for overnight use, you should always remove them before bed. Regularly sleeping in contact lenses can increase the risk of eye infection, pain, light sensitivity, corneal ulcers, and even result in loss of vision.
8. Avoid sleeping in
It is the weekend and you don’t have to be up early. It is your day to get some extra sleep, right? Even if sleeping in on the weekends feels refreshing at the time, it can sabotage the rest of your week. It can cause a sleep debt for the rest of the week which can be difficult to make up, leading to a vicious cycle. Try and stick to your usual wake-up time and bedtime so that you get a good night’s sleep and can also ease into a new week, refreshed.
9. Keep your pet out of your bed
This can be really hard because sharing your bed with your fur baby is so cozy. However, pets do bring dander and allergens into your bed. This can irritate your nose. When it gets inflamed and filled with mucus, you begin to snore and therefore, sleepless nights.
10. Take off your makeup
It is all too easy to just get in bed at the end of a long day and feel lazy to go through your nighttime ritual of taking off that makeup. But leaving makeup on overnight can clog pores and oil glands, which can stretch them out and make them appear larger. And once the damage is done, there’s no going back: Skin collagen levels decline with age, and those stretched-out pores won’t return to their youthful look so easily. Not washing your face at night may also cause inflammation, speeding up aging.
Try and follow the above for a good night’s sleep. It goes without saying that a nutritious diet and exercise, combined with good sleep habits are essential for a healthy life.