Many of us want to know how to sleep better. A good night's sleep has many physical and mental benefits yet many of us toss and turn and wake up feeling less than refreshed.
How many times has this happened to you? You tell yourself that you're going to go to bed earlier tonight because you know you should get more sleep. And then, it doesn't happen. You get busy with so many other things that you end up staying awake half the night!
This happens to everyone, but it's really not good to keep doing this over and over. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night benefits you in a variety of ways! Let's go over some of the best ways that sleep increases your physical and mental wellbeing.
Good Sleep Sharpens Memory
If you're one of those people who walks into a room and then forgets why they went in there, this one's for you. Sleep does wonders for strengthening memory functions. During the day, your brain is hard at work, processing everything that happens to you and storing information as memories. Then when you sleep, your brain creates connections between these memories.
What this means is that the less time you sleep, the less time your brain has to make these connections. If you feel like you’ve been forgetting things a lot lately, maybe you should check your sleep patterns!
Good Sleep Helps with Weight Management
If you're trying to get your weight to a healthy level, then you need to make sure you're getting enough sleep. Did you know that studies have shown that sleep-deprived people have larger appetites? A larger appetite equals more food, which equals more calories, which equals weight gain!
To make matters worse, a lack of sleep can throw your hormones way off balance. For example, the hormone ghrelin stimulates your appetite, while the hormone leptin suppresses it. If you don't get enough sleep, these hormone levels start to get a little crazy, and you end up overeating! You can have the best fitness trainer and the best exercise routine, but without sleep, you're going to struggle with your appetite and weight.
Good Sleep Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Sleep helps your heart out in a big way. Take a moment to think about all the hard work your heart does during the day. It's continually pumping blood all around your body, minute after minute, hour after hour. Your heart needs time to rest!
Getting regular sleep reduces the stress and pressure in your blood vessels and boosts your heart health. With heart disease being such a widespread health concern for many people, it's essential to keep your heart healthy as much as you can. Sleep is an excellent way to do that.
Good Sleep Increases Productivity and Focus
Let's say you had a very important project to complete for work. Would you get drunk before working on it? While that would result in a very interesting project, it's definitely not the best idea.
But did you know that not having enough sleep is like being drunk? Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can mess up the way your brain works similarly to alcohol intoxication! This is because your brain has to have enough sleep to have good cognition, performance, and productivity. If you want to perform well at work — and everywhere else — then getting enough sleep is vital. The first step to having a productive day is getting the right amount of sleep!
Good Sleep Improves Physical Performance
Have you been struggling at the gym lately? Do you feel like you’re just not as fast or as strong as you used to be? Maybe you should ask yourself how many hours of sleep you've been getting the past few nights.
Good sleep has been confirmed to increase speed, accuracy, and overall athleticism. Your muscles need downtime to have peak performance later. The truth is, you can have the highest-quality gym equipment and the most rigorous workout routine, but all of that won't help much if your body is worn out from lack of sleep. Sleep more, and you’ll be stronger.
Prioritize Sleep for Better Health
These are only some of the benefits sleep has to offer! In addition to all of these great benefits, good sleep can also reduce your risk of diabetes. And it can make you more alert, improve your skin, and even help with handling depression. There are so many reasons you need sleep, so remember to make sleep a priority! Try to build extra time into your schedule to get more sleep… you won't regret it.
Simple Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
At this point, we all know how important getting the right amount of sleep is. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night has many health benefits, so it's an absolute must if you want to keep your body running smoothly from head to toe. However, sleeping well is easier said than done! It's so frustrating to lie down and snuggle under the covers, only to stay awake with that tense, stressful can't-fall-asleep feeling. Fear not — there are ways you can fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer. Find out how!
Set a Regular Bedtime
Remember how much you hated bedtime as a kid? Well, now it's time to change your mind! Setting a regular time to sleep will help you fall asleep with more ease because your body will get used to going to bed at that time. And you'll naturally start to feel sleepy around then.
Think about what time you'll have to wake up in the morning and pick a bedtime that allows you to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep. If that time is much earlier than you're used to, it's okay to not make such a big change to your schedule all of a sudden. Move your bedtime 15 minutes earlier each day until you get to the time that allows for 7 or 8 hours.
Get Your Body Moving
There are lots and lots of good reasons to exercise, and getting better sleep is one of them. Working out does more than just keep you healthy and maintain your physique. It also wears you out and regulates your cardiac rhythm, and both of those things help you get a better night's sleep!
You don't have to do a super long workout every night. Even if you can’t fit in the time for a full gym session, you can fit in a fifteen-minute at-home workout or a twenty-minute yoga session. The ultimate goal is to expend energy so that when bedtime comes, you will be ready for it.
But don't work out too close to your bedtime as you may find yourself too energized to get to bed. Instead, try exercising during the day. And don't do it within two to three hours before it's time to hit the sack.
Resist Late-Night Coffee Temptation
Are you a coffee lover? Some people are eager to drink coffee every day, and if that's you, it's okay — just be careful what time of day you drink your coffee! If you drink it too close to bedtime, it will keep you awake longer, and it will lower the quality of your sleep when you do fall asleep.
It's best not to drink anything too close to bedtime, or else you will have to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. However, if it's an hour or more before bedtime, you might want to drink some tea, but avoid caffeinated ones. Instead, opt for calming teas such as chamomile so that you can enjoy sweet, relaxing sleep.
If you're finding coffee may be a problem for you (or your interested in seeing if it could be), take a look at this post: Is Coffee Harming Your Health
Know it's time to quit coffee? Check out How to Quit Coffee and Replace it with Healthy Alternatives
Avoid Spicy and Sugary Dinners
The foods you eat can affect your sleep — and sometimes, the effects are not good. Meals that contain a lot of spice are known to cause indigestion. Now when was the last time you experienced heartburn? Were you comfortable? Were you able to relax? My point exactly.
Sugary dinners, on the other hand, will give you a rush of energy that you absolutely do not need when you’re trying to go to bed early. Instead of loading up on sugary and spicy foods, choose light meals that are rich in vitamins and minerals. They're beneficial not only for your sleep but also for your overall health.
Switch Off Your Devices
Now, this is probably going to be the most difficult tip to follow. Still, it can't go unsaid: You should not be using your phone, tablet, computer, or TV right before you go to bed! It's best to turn those devices off at least 30-45 minutes before bedtime.
The blue light emitted from electronic devices tells your brain to stay awake! Plus, checking your email and your social media notifications is addicting, and you'll be tempted to keep checking over and over every few minutes. If you want to fall asleep faster, put your devices aside, no matter how tough it is.
Wind Down Before Bed
Doing wind-down activities can release stress and make you feel relaxed before bed. How about reading a book? Yes, a real, physical book, not an eBook. Reading a physical book is best. But if you really feel the need to read an eBook before bed, be sure to turn the brightness down on your device so that the light doesn't shine brightly and stimulate your eyes and brain.
Don't feel like reading? You can try other calming activities such as knitting, sketching, journaling, meditating, or listening to relaxing music or sounds. No matter what wind-down activity you do, don't forget to dim the lights in your room. Turn off big, bright lights and use small lamps instead.
Try a Sleep Spray
If you struggle to relax, try spritzing the sheets and pillow with an herbal sleep spray. They are quite easy to make and often help with winding down and setting the tone for sleep.
This Sleep Ease Essential Oil roller bottle from Mountain Rose Herbs would be a useful tool to keep by your bedside too.
Now, You’re Ready to Rest…
Getting good sleep doesn't have to be a complicated mystery. Once you try these tips, you're sure to improve your sleep quality. You are going to love waking up every day feeling more rested and refreshed!
Let me know in the comments: What is your favorite way to feel relaxed before sleep?