Rocio from Porch.com shared that social distancing is stressful and some of us are experiencing some hard time falling asleep or enjoying a good night’s sleep. He suggests that if you tend to toss and turn at night, your sleeping troubles could be due to stress, your health, or it may be the way your bedroom is currently structured. Whether you suffer from insomnia or experience occasional trouble getting a good night’s rest, there are some things you can do to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep. One of the best things you can do for your health and well-being is to get adequate sleep each night. Read on to learn more about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and how you can take proactive steps at home for a restful slumber.
The Importance and Benefits of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Lack of deep sleep can have a major negative impact on your health. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel sluggish and moody the next day. Some side effects of missing out on sleep include fatigue, an inability to focus, and overeating. Some studies have shown that lack of sleep can actually contribute to obesity since it increases your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes you feel hungry during the day. If you get enough hours of sleep each night, you’ll be more focused and alert. Lack of sleep can cause serious safety issues, such as car accidents or injuries at work. REM sleep provides plenty of benefits that can improve your health, including:
- 1. Improved learning and better brain function
- 2. Steady mood (no mood swings)
- 3. More energy – both physical and mental
- 4. Healthy heart and lung function
- 5. A stronger immune system
If you’re currently struggling with insomnia or find that you wake up several times throughout the night and can’t fall back to sleep, you can take proactive steps to create a more restful, relaxing environment. Practicing stress management techniques and learning how to deal with anxiety can help to improve sleep. Turning off your smartphone before bedtime will also promote a healthier sleep pattern.
Make Your Bed and Bedroom Comfortable
One way to get a good night’s rest is to create a soothing, comfortable sleeping environment. The wall color and bedding colors in your bedroom can have a significant impact on your ability to achieve a restful night of sleep. Consider changing your bedroom colors to soft pastels and neutral tones rather than bright, vibrant colors. Soft blue, gray, and tan can calm the mind and encourage your brain to slow down and rest. Add a few plants like Lavender or Golden Pothos to your bedroom to help promote better sleep. Houseplants are easy to care for and they clean the air and contribute to a soothing environment. When you shop for bedding, choose lightweight cotton sheets that are soft but also not too heavy. Look for pillows and mattresses that support your personal sleep style so you’re not putting too much pressure on the back and neck. Side sleepers and back sleepers tend to do well with memory foam, while stomach sleepers should look for hybrid mattresses or those with an innerspring coil system.
A consistent cycle of sunlight and darkness helps the human body produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. If your bedroom is too bright, it can interfere with melatonin levels which will make getting a good night’s rest much more difficult. To combat this problem, use dimmer switches in the bedroom and turn the light levels lower at least two to three hours before bedtime. If you enjoy reading before you head off to dreamland, swap the bulbs in your table lamp from a bright to a low-wattage bulb. As the light in your bedroom dims, it naturally tells the body it’s time to get ready for rest. If the sunlight coming through your windows keeps you awake, use a set of blackout curtains. These heavy curtains can keep the sunlight from filtering in, so your bedroom stays nice and dark until you’re ready to wake.
Achieve the Ideal Temperature for Sleeping
Most people sleep better in cooler temperatures, so it’s important that you’re able to achieve the right temps in your bedroom. As you get ready to fall asleep, your body temperature starts to drop. When you keep your room cool at temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees, it helps cool your body down to encourage deeper sleep. If you have a warm bedroom, you can remedy the problem with a fan that you can aim to blow cool air on your body. Turn your home’s air conditioning system to a comfortable level that will keep you cool throughout the night. Avoid sleeping in heavy pajamas that can make you feel hot. Instead, switch to lightweight cotton or breathable linen for your bedtime outfits.
More Helpful Tips for Better Sleep
Struggling with insomnia and sleep difficulties can have a ripple effect on your health and your mental well-being. If you set up a comfortable bedroom that uses calming colors, cooler temperatures, and dim lights, this should help you fall asleep faster and for longer. However, there are plenty of other things you can do to experience a good night of rest at home. Here are some other things that may encourage solid sleep that lasts throughout the night:
- Reduce noise in the bedroom
- Loud noises can make slumber seem impossible. Create a consistent, soothing backdrop for your bedroom by using a fan or an app that produces white noise to help you drown out outside noise.
- Stick to a bedtime routine
- Do your best to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day and night. Try to associate your bedroom with sleeping only, and don’t use it to work or watch television since these activities can make it more difficult to calm the mind.
- Avoid blue light from screens
- Computers and smartphones produce “blue light,” which can interfere with sleep. Turn off your electronic devices at least a few hours before bedtime to help your body and mind understand that it’s time to prepare for sleep.
- Practice relaxation techniques
- Whether it’s a good book or a quick yoga session, try to relax your body and mind before bedtime. Meditation can clear your mind of the stress from the day, and it will also help you prepare for the day ahead.
- Know what to avoid
- Stop drinking caffeine in the late afternoon, since this stimulant can make sleeping extremely difficult. You should also avoid nicotine and eating late-night meals, both of which are known to disrupt sleep or make it more difficult. If you can, avoid taking naps, and instead, just go to bed according to your current routine. Naps can cause you to wake in the middle of the night or make it more difficult to fall asleep at bedtime.
Sleeping Apps to Download
There are several apps for your smartphone that may help you get to sleep faster. These apps are designed to calm the mind and give you a sense of tranquility before you go to bed. Whether you have an Android or an iPhone, you can find these apps through your phone’s app store and give them a try. Here are a few of the most popular sleeping apps available today:
This app offers a variety of meditation practices you can try to help you feel calm before you go to bed. The app offers a unique new 10-minute meditation every day for users, so you’ll always have something different to try. It also features a variety of music selections that promote a calming feeling, and you can also pay for exercise videos, nature scenes, and sounds, or participate in a masterclass led by professional mindfulness experts.
The Sleep Cycle alarm clock app uses sound analysis to identify your unique sleep cycle patterns. The app looks at sleep states and tracks your movement while you’re in bed. Smart Cycle then uses a wake-up phase that ends when you set your desired alarm time. Throughout the phase, it closely monitors signals from your body and then wakes you up softly when you enter the lightest sleep stage.
If you’re new to the concept of meditation, the Headspace app is an excellent place to start. This app has a focus on mindfulness and provides detailed instructions to help you get started. Use your headphones when you use this app and enjoy calming meditations for all levels. Be sure to take advantage of the reminder system which will alert you when it’s time to participate in a new meditation session.
From a cooler bedroom to noise reduction, there are plenty of things you can do to help ensure you’re getting the sleep you need. With a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel stronger, more positive, and ready to face the day. Try these tips to see which ones may help you get back into a healthy sleep cycle.