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Getting a good night’s sleep has a positive impact on nearly every area of our lives. Studies show that being well-rested can improve our concentration, focus, mood, memory, creativity, work performance, health, relationships, and help us maintain healthy body weight. What can’t a good sleep fix?
These benefits only magnify as they bleed into other areas of our lives—we make better decisions when rested. When we do better at work and in our relationships, our finances and day-to-day happiness are improved. Despite all of this research, many of us don’t know what we can be doing to improve our sleep.
The following will explore some tips and tricks to help you have a higher-quality sleep each night. Of course, sleep can be harmed by medical conditions. If you expect the cause of your fatigue is a health problem, be sure to visit a doctor in addition to working through this list. Some underlying conditions require medical intervention to be overcome.
Ditch The Blue Light Devices
In today’s modern world, screens are everywhere. We’re not complaining. These nifty devices make our lives easier and help us stay connected with those we love. They also offer ample entertainment and help us manage our work. This being said, screens don’t belong in the bedroom.
Devices with screens emit a blue light, which impairs our circadian rhythm—the part of our body that manages when we feel tired, when we sleep, how long we sleep for, and when we get hungry. The blue light goes into us through the eyes or closed eyelids and tells our bodies that it is daytime and we should be awake. Even something seemingly small like leaving your phone next to your bed will interrupt your sleep each time you get a notification.
Removing blue light devices from the bedroom (and ideally, for one or two hours before bed) can make a massive difference. This gives your body time to produce melatonin, which tells your mind to get tired and wind down for bed.
Manage Your Caffeine And Stimulant Intake
We all know we shouldn’t be drinking coffee close to bedtime, but few of us realize how long caffeine stays in the body and influences our mental state. Caffeine can last up to seven hours in our bodies, meaning that afternoon tea, soda, or coffee might be ruining your sleep. Nicotine and other stimulants (including sugar) have the same effect. Avoid these substances in the hours before bedtime.
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Each person’s body works a bit differently, so you might want to keep a note of the caffeinated drinks you have and what times and how well you sleep in the evening. Quickly you’ll be able to see what your cutoff time is for stimulants.
It might seem strange to include congestion on this list, but for many people, poor breathing is part of poor sleep. Yes, there might not be something you can do about having caught a cold, but many of us are congested daily without knowing it.
It may be mild allergies that you didn’t even know you had, causing poor sleep. It might be that you live in a heavily polluted area. It might be the cleaning and hygiene products you use that fill the air with toxins your body struggles to deal with. It’s more than possible that you’ve been living with congestion so long you don’t even notice it anymore. When we sleep, we should be breathing through our noses. If you’re not able to do this, you are likely congested. Depending on the cause of your congestion, your solution is going to look different.
Be Aware Of Allergens
If you can’t breathe through your nose while you sleep, get your allergies tested and avoid anything that causes inflammation in your system—this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of the cat, but maybe the cat shouldn’t be allowed in your room. Experts at RestHouse.ca recommend looking into hypoallergenic or organic sheets, pillows, and blankets. We don’t realize how polluted our sheets and pillows can get. Weeks of sweat, toxins, allergens, dead skin cells, and bacteria can get clogged.
Pay Attention To The Air Quality
If allergies are not the cause of your congestion, consider keeping an air filter or house plants in your bedroom, this is especially helpful if you live in a large city. House plants have also been shown to improve the quality of sleep whether or not a room is full of toxins. Cleaner air makes for better sleep. Part of improving air quality involves watching what chemicals you use in the bedroom. Aerosol sprays and things containing fragrance or parfum are particularly important to watch out for. If you must-have candles, consider natural alternatives like beeswax.
For some of us, not being able to sleep doesn’t come from anything physical—it comes from being overloaded with stress and worry. Even if you’re exhausted, it’s hard to let yourself fall asleep if you have fifteen things that you’re nervous, worried, or anxious about. Depending on the source of your stress, dealing with it is going to look different. A good jumping-off point though is to write down all your worries before bedtime. Tell yourself that you can pick them up and worry about them in the morning. They’ll still be there when you wake up.
Activities like exercise, yoga, and meditation can also help with stress reduction. We know you’ve been told to meditate too many times to count, but have you tried it? Even five minutes each day can make an impact. Meditation also helps with your work performance, mood, creativity, focus, and relationships. If the idea drives you crazy, consider other forms of mindfulness practice—try washing the dishes and thinking of nothing but the dishes—the feel of the warm water running over your hands, the shiny-ness of the bubbles, how great it feels to have an empty sink.
The above tips are by no means the be-all and end-all when it comes to sleep. Some countless tips and tricks can help you rest easier at night and perform better in your waking life.