We’ve all had late, restless nights when we scramble to get things done. Although it may not seem like a big deal, getting insufficient sleep can negatively impact your life in significant ways. Studies have shown that not getting the proper amount of sleep will affect your mental and physical health. Lack of proper sleep has been linked to problems in the digestive, endocrine, and respiratory systems, indicating that good sleep is a vital factor in living a healthy life. Studies have even found that getting an inadequate night’s sleep affects your social interactions.
Given the importance of sleep, you must know how to maximize your chances of getting a good night’s rest. By being purposeful in your pursuit of adequate sleep, you can positively impact your overall health, sense of well-being, and interactions with others. Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you’re getting a night of deep and restful sleep.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Long ago, before the lightbulb was invented, our ancestors’ sleeping patterns followed the sun. Humans woke up when it was light and went to sleep when it was dark. Though artificial light has become nearly ubiquitous in today’s world, your body still responds to the amount of light around you. A dark room is essential to getting proper rest. While you may think that turning the lights off is enough, flashing computers and streetlights creeping through your windows can still disrupt your sleep. Your sleep could improve dramatically by making your room as dark as possible when it’s time for bed. Achieve a sense of advanced darkness by investing in blackout blinds or a sleeping mask. Giving your body clear signals that it is time to sleep will help you to rest more deeply and wake up feeling refreshed.
Resist Late-Night Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol can seriously disrupt your sleep, even if that may not seem to be the case. It is a common misconception that alcohol will help you achieve a deeper sleep. Though alcohol can help you fall asleep quicker, it also lowers the quality of sleep that you get throughout the night. About an hour and a half, after you fall asleep, you experience REM sleep. REM (“rapid eye movement”) sleep is important because it triggers neural connections that positively impact your overall health. Alcohol can slow or even prevent your body from achieving complete REM sleep.
Caffeine can also pose an obstacle to rest; drinking soda or coffee at night can make it difficult to fall asleep at all. Studies have shown that most people should stop drinking coffee somewhere in the area of six hours before they go to bed. Being intentional about not consuming caffeine or alcohol before bed will help you get a better night’s rest and ultimately increase your overall sense of well-being.
Listen to Your Body
Your body has an internal clock when it comes to sleeping and waking up. Understanding and following your internal clock, also called your circadian rhythm, can have a positive impact on your sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help you regulate your recharging. While it may be tempting to spend weekend mornings sleeping in, the practice reinforces unhealthy sleeping habits.
Giving your body a schedule for when you fall asleep and when you wake up will help your sleep be deeper and more restful. Some find it useful to set an alarm at night a couple of minutes before bed. This can act as a healthy reminder that you should start the process of getting ready for bed. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day will help you achieve lasting wellness and rest.
Exercise is Wise
Being active throughout your day will promote better sleep at night. Regularly engaging in exercise can have a multitude of health benefits, including helping your body rest more completely. Though it is commonly thought that you should avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, working out earlier in the day is understood to help with deep sleep. Beyond improving the quality of your sleep, exercise has also been shown to have a positive impact on the duration of REM sleep and other important components of your nightly slumber. By building a regimen of exercise into your schedule, you’ll be able to reap the health benefits that come from a good long rest. If you can, try exercising in the sunlight. This can elevate your mood and allow your body to take in the natural light, which will later make it easier to fall asleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep is far more important than you may realize. Taking the steps to maximize your potential to sleep deeply will positively impact your overall health and mental wellbeing. Making sure you have a dark room is of paramount importance when it comes to restful sleep. It is important to be mindful of your alcohol and caffeine intake as it gets closer to your bedtime because these substances can disrupt your body’s ability to sleep effectively. Make sure to be aware of your body’s natural internal clock. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help promote healthy sleeping patterns. Get some exercise during the daytime to rest well at night. For more information on mental wellness, reach out to True Recovery in breathtaking Orange County, California. We provide a wide array of individualized services for mental health, wellness, addiction, and other personal areas of improvement. Call us at (866) 399-6528 to learn more.