May is the month to celebrate better sleep by adopting healthy sleep habits that lead to higher energy levels, better health, and an overall greater sense of well-being. This month, the Better Sleep Council, or BSC (yes, there is such an organization!) raises awareness of the need for sleep, how poor sleep impacts our health and everyday life, and what we can do to get better sleep.
Why do we need sleep?
Quality sleep is a critical necessity for our bodies. During sleep, our bodies rest and heal, our cells regenerate, and our minds process all of the new information it has received throughout the day. Sleep helps support brain function, physical health and mental health. Furthermore, it helps support vital growth and development in children and teenagers.
Adequate sleep helps protect our mental health, physical health, and quality of life. Additionally, it enhances our personal safety and the safety of others by giving us the awareness to operate cars and machinery in a responsible way. Lack of sleep can be devastating, causing accidents on the road, in the home, and in the workplace.
Signs of Poor Sleep
While it has long been recommended that you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health benefits, this goal is difficult for many of us to achieve. From diet to daily habits and underlying health conditions, obstacles to a good night’s sleep abound. Here are just a few signs that you’re not getting quality sleep:
- Excessively tired during the day
- Not feeling rested when you wake up in the morning
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
- Low mood or easily irritable
- Decreased appetite
- Sore or aching muscles
Unfortunately, the effects of poor sleep can last more than a day or two. Chronic sleep deficits can have a long-term impact on your body. Your stress hormones increase when you don’t get enough sleep, affecting your blood pressure and immune system. In turn, this can result in such issues as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and other serious health conditions. But there is good news! There are easy steps you can take today to get better sleep tonight!
5 Easy Tips for Quality Sleep
Don’t eat or drink too much before going to sleep
Creating a designated time to stop eating and drinking at night has many benefits! Eliminating food and beverages (particularly sugar and caffeine) at least an hour before going to sleep will help reduce sleep disturbances. Not falling asleep due to heartburn or waking up multiple times to use the bathroom does not contribute to quality sleep. Choose a time to stop eating and drinking for the night that makes sense for you, and start enjoying more continuous sleep.
Develop a bedtime routine
We are creatures of habit, and having a bedtime routine sends your brain a cue that it is almost time to rest. Going to sleep and getting up at the same time, even on the weekends, trains your brain to rest at a certain hour. Incorporate things that are relaxing, like a hot shower or bubble bath, reading, or having herbal tea. It won’t be long before your routine becomes a habit that you look forward to every evening.
Create a restful sleep space
Creating a sleep space that is a restful sanctuary will help your body relax and provide more cues to your brain that it is time to calm down for the night. If possible, remove any furniture that is distracting, like a desk, treadmill, or television. Keep the room dark and cool and treat yourself to comfortable bedding and sleepwear. Don’t forget to put away your electronic devices–keeping them out of reach, like on your dresser instead of your nightstand can help reduce the temptation to scroll when you should be sleeping. But if you can’t resist the phone at night and must scroll, consider wearing blue light glasses that can prevent eye strain and help you sleep better than without them.
Unwind and clear your mind
We all have a lot on our minds these days, but when our brain is racing, it’s hard to sleep. Practicing mindfulness can help. Activities like journaling, praying, meditating, drawing, or a chat with your spouse, partner or friend can help put us at ease and prepare our brain for rest.
Exercise improves our quality of sleep by helping us fall asleep faster and achieve a nice, deep sleep. Make sure to get your activity in by early evening as exercising too late at night can cause overstimulation and keep you awake. By getting adequate daily exercise, you’ll enjoy not only increased energy and mood from great sleep, but many other health benefits, too.
At Beautyrest Sleep Gallery, we want better sleep for all of our customers. Visit us today and discover the perfect mattress for your perfect night’s sleep!