5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep, and Why You Should Do It

5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep, and Why You Should Do It

Sleep is critical for our general health and well-being, yet many of us don’t get enough of it.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 American adults get insufficient sleep regularly.

When life gets hectic, we may make some compromises when it comes to taking care of our health. But if you’re constantly running on less than 6 hours of sleep every night, your body will face life-long health consequences.

Luckily, there are many strategies you can apply to improve your sleep quality. Here are a few effective ways to achieve better sleep.

1) Follow a strict sleep schedule

One of the most important things you can do for your sleep is to establish a regular sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

Our bodies operate on circadian rhythms, which are 24-hour internal clocks that tell us when to sleep, wake up, and eat. This is why we often feel “jet lag” when we travel to different time zones since our internal clocks are out of sync.

When we follow a regular sleep schedule, our circadian rhythm becomes more in tune with the natural light-dark cycle. This is crucial since this crucial human function has a large impact on hormone release, digestion, and body temperature maintenance.

If we continuously disrupt this natural cycle, such as sleeping at sporadic times during the night, it can lead to long-term health consequences such as cognitive issues, motor skill issues, and an inability to focus.

2) Create a sleep-friendly environment

If by midnight your bedroom’s still lit up and noisy, it’s time to reevaluate your sleeping arrangements. The ideal sleep environment should be dark, quiet, and cool.

If your current sleeping quarters aren’t helping you get some shut-eye, don’t hesitate to invest in some tools to make sleeping easier. For starters, invest in some blackout curtains or an eye mask to make your room as dark as possible. Then, eliminate or drown out any external noise by using a white noise machine, earplugs, or simply keeping the entryway sealed. If you’re diagnosed with a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, then you can get a CPAP machine from CPAP Direct to aid you in your pursuit to slumber.

You should also keep your bedroom cool since our body temperatures drop when we sleep. For instance, having an air-conditioner running, especially during the summer, can help create a comfortable environment for sleep.

3) Digital detox before bedtime

When it’s time to unwind and prepare for sleep, it can be tempting to mindlessly scroll through social media or watch a few hours of television. However, this behavior can actually make it harder to fall asleep.

The blue light emitted from screens suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. So if you’re looking at your phone or tablet right up until you turn the lights off, you’re likely to have a harder time dozing off.

To avoid this issue, it’s important to disconnect from electronics at least an hour before bedtime. This will give your body enough time to wind down without the interference of these gadgets.

4) Get regular exercise

Aside from promoting physical health and fitness, exercise has also been shown to improve sleep quality. People who engage in regular physical activity tend to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly than those who are inactive.

Exercise can also help to regulate our circadian rhythms, which as we know, is crucial for good sleep. Just be sure to avoid working out right during the wrong time, as this can have the opposite effect and make it harder to fall asleep.

5) Manage stressors

If you’re tossing and turning at night, stress is likely to blame. When we’re stressed, our body goes into “fight-or-flight” mode, which is a physiological response that helps us deal with perceived threats.

This response releases stress hormones like cortisol, which can make it hard to relax and fall asleep. To combat this, it’s important to find ways to manage stressors in your life.

To start, you’ll need to identify what’s causing your stress. Once you know what these triggers are, you can begin to take steps to avoid them or mitigate their effects. Additionally, relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help relax your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.

Why Sleep is So Important

You may be led to believe that our brains become inactive and shut down when we sleep, but that’s not actually the case. Although certain regions of the brain do power down, parts of our brain actually boot up and become more active during slumber.

During sleep, our brains consolidate memories and process information from the day. This process helps bring order to the random thoughts and experiences we have throughout the day. It may even store them in our long-term memory.

Sleep also gives our brain a chance to cleanse itself of toxins that build up during wakefulness. Researchers have even found that during sleep, cerebrospinal fluid washes away harmful proteins that accumulate during active hours.

Aside from these brain benefits, sleep also helps restore and revitalize our bodies. It helps:

  • Boost our immune system
  • Improve your mood
  • Strengthen heart performance
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels
  • Promote weight loss

So the next time you’re feeling run down, don’t reach for another cup of coffee. Try to get some extra shut-eye instead. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Asheley Rice

I am a pop culture and social media expert. Aside from writing about the latest news health, I also enjoy pop culture and Yoga. I have BA in American Cultural Studies and currently enrolled in a Mass-Media MA program. I like to spend my spring breaks volunteering overseas.

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