Do you regularly get a rejuvenating night’s sleep? If you’re not waking up feeling rested each morning, you’re certainly not alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one-third of Americans don’t get the sleep they need on a regular basis. Lack of sleep is so prominent that it’s now considered a public health epidemic.
Whether you experience an occasional night of tossing and turning or are one of the 40 million Americans that suffer from chronic, long-term sleep problems, not getting a good night’s sleep can wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being.
Not getting enough sleep has been linked to decreased quality of life, reduced productivity, car crashes and increased mortality. The detrimental effects that lack of sleep has on our health have been proven time and again.
Are you one of the millions of people who aren’t sleeping as soundly as they should?
You deserve to get a good night’s rest. Following are some of the best practices for getting a rejuvenating night’s sleep that will help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Set a Sleep Schedule (and Stick to It)
One of the best things you can do to get a rejuvenating night’s sleep is set a sleep schedule…and stick to it. An inconsistent sleep schedule can throw your body and mind totally out of whack, so setting a consistent sleep schedule can help tremendously.
Pick a time to go to bed and wake up each day, then adhere to these times like clockwork. Life will undoubtedly get in the way and there will be days you’ll need to make adjustments, but doing your best to stay on track with the sleep schedule you set for yourself will create a huge difference in the way you feel each morning when you wake up.
Your body’s internal clock is naturally set to the light and dark of the rising and setting sun. Keep your lights down low in the evening hours, especially for the hour or so before you’re set to sleep. Let the sunshine in each morning by opening your blinds or curtains. Consider having your morning coffee or tea outside if you can.
When you set your sleep schedule, make sure you’re waking up each morning on time. This means avoiding the beloved snooze button on your phone or alarm clock. Did you know that hitting your snooze button and dozing off for those 10 minutes and then being abruptly woken up again can actually make you more tired? While the first few days might be difficult, your body should quickly adjust to the point where you’re waking up rejuvenated before your alarm even buzzes.
Keep Electronic Devices Out of the Bedroom
Most of us are guilty of taking our electronics to bed with us. A report by the National Sleep Foundation shows that approximately 90% of Americans use some type of electronic device in the hour before bed.
Did you know, however, that technology is one of the biggest disruptors of sleep that exists? If you’re taking your cell phone, tablet or laptop to bed, chances are you’re not getting a good night’s sleep.
Research suggests that, as technology has progressed, our relationship with the night has changed. Surfing the internet, binging on Netflix, social media status updates and scrolling, reading e-books and playing video games before bed is normal in our modern, technology-driven lifestyles.
More types of devices used also leads to more difficulty falling and staying asleep. If you’re sending a text, then quickly checking your email while browsing Netflix or YouTube for something to watch before sending another quick text, your sleep is surely suffering.
Technology is a huge part of our day-to-day lives. It’s easy to get sucked into the trap, especially when it has become so normal.
The thing is, studies show that the blue light emitted from these screens (including TVs, cell phones, tablets or laptops) inhibits the body’s ability to produce melatonin. This vital hormone is what’s responsible for regulating the sleep/wake cycle.
Want to wake up rejuvenated?
Get rid of all electronics in the bedroom and cut out your screen time at least one hour before you plan on going to bed.
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine
Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can rob you of getting a good night’s sleep.
Caffeine is obvious. It’s a powerful stimulant and consuming it later in the day (think after 2 p.m.) can seriously impede your ability to fall asleep each night. When you consider that caffeine blocks sleep-inducing chemicals and increases adrenaline (and takes 6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated), it’s easy to see how it could wreck your chances of rejuvenating sleep.
Alcohol isn’t as obvious. Many people assume that alcohol actually makes them sleep better, but this isn’t the case at all. Drinking alcohol inhibits sleep cycles by decreasing Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which is believed to be the type of sleep that is the most mentally restorative.
Then, there’s nicotine. While many smokers have a cigarette before bed to relax, nicotine is actually a stimulant. It increases heart rate and mental alertness and can make you feel awake when you’re trying to sleep. Research shows that smokers also spend less time in deep sleep and more time in light sleep than non-smokers. Cigarette smokers are also four times more likely to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep than people who don’t smoke.
Create a Soothing Sleep Environment
Something else that can help you get a rejuvenating night’s sleep is to create a soothing sleep environment. When you consider that we spend around one-third of our lives sleeping, statistically speaking, we’re spending more time in our bedrooms than anywhere else.
Creating a soothing sleep environment is one of the best practices for getting a rejuvenating night’s sleep. A tranquil, peaceful sleep environment is going to lull you into a serene state of sleep. Consider the following tips to create a soothing sleep environment of your own.
1. Make Sure Your Room is as Dark as Possible
We’re naturally programmed to sleep in a dark environment. You might want to consider blackout curtains if outside light is a problem, wearing a sleep mask and making sure all electronics are kept out of the bedroom.
Even the smallest amount of light (think the light from your phone or digital clock), can disrupt your sleep. Sleeping in a dark room can help promote a sound night’s sleep.
2. Keep Your Room Cool
Were you aware that your body cools down at night to prepare you for sleep? Cooler body temperatures indicate to your brain that it’s time for bed and lead to increased melatonin production.
A cooler temperature in the bedroom allows your body to maintain a steady temperature throughout the night, which can help inhibit night sweats and restlessness. Sleeping in an environment with a cooler temperature can help you fall asleep more quickly, leading to more restful sleep.
According to experts, the ideal sleeping temperature for adults is 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-19 degrees Celsius). Temperatures above 75 or below 54 degrees can significantly disrupt your quality of sleep.
3. Consider Indoor Air Quality
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the quality of our indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside. Poor indoor air quality, according to Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is linked to sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where breathing recurrently stops and starts.
If you really want to get a rejuvenating night’s sleep, consider the indoor air quality of your bedroom. An air purifier is, by far, the costliest choice to improve the air quality of the bedroom. Investing in air-purifying plants is a less expensive (and more beautiful) way to improve the quality of air in your room.
4. Keep Your Bedroom Clean and Tidy
Remember, we spend more time in the bedroom than anywhere else. Turning your bedroom into a sleeping sanctuary is one of the easiest ways to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Think about it. Will you feel rejuvenated in the morning if you wake up looking at those piles of laundry you still haven’t put away? Will you wake feeling rested when your bedside stand is spilling over with whatever’s been left to collect on it for the past week?
Clearing away any clutter, keeping up on the laundry and making sure your bedroom environment stays tidy are all ways to create an ideal bedroom environment that inspires you to wake up rejuvenated and ready to greet the day.
Rest Well and Wake Rejuvenated
We hope that these practices for a rejuvenating night’s sleep will help you and your family as much as they’ve helped ours. Getting good sleep is vital, and waking up feeling well-rested can have a profoundly positive effect on your life.
Todd Smith is Joy Organics Chief Operations Officer and Co-founder. Before Joy Organics, he worked in the wellness and nutritional industry for over three decades and helped generate over 1 billion dollars in supplement sales. He has applied that knowledge and experience to empower over 1000 businesses through Joy Organics’ partnership programs. Todd is also the author of a book, podcast, and blog titled Little Things Matter.