Sleep can quite literally be a life-saver. Many volumes of research have reiterated its importance in keeping away many diseases and reducing the risk of premature death. Not only that, but a lack of quality sleep can lead to carelessness and more accidents occurring in general life.
This topic is not a particularly pleasant one to discuss, but it is crucial and has to be addressed. In its most recent report, the CDC reported that more than 1 in 3 Americans are sleep-deprived. If that doesn’t prove the relevance of this article, then nothing will!
Let’s delve deeper into the 5 best, most actionable pieces of advice to improve the quality of your sleep.
Wind down in the evenings
Taking a deep breath and beginning the “wind-down process” before you head to bed can be a great way to improve the quality of your sleep.
This process can be a simple one. One hour before heading to bed - switch off your phone, close all your electronic devices, and get yourself in the mood to nod off.
There are many techniques you can follow to wind down, with some of the most basic ones highlighted below:
● Meditate: who knew taking a few deep breaths in and out could help you sleep? Jokes aside, meditation can be an excellent way to put your mind at rest and relax. If you’re struggling with where to start, some handy apps are out there to guide you through the process. Check out Headspace, Calm or Healthy Mind Program for an easy introduction.
● Listen to calming music: classical music works best, but go for whatever you enjoy (as long as it is relatively soft and calming).
● Taking a hot bath: this one is self-explanatory. Get the bath bombs out if you’re feeling fancy.
Exercise in the mornings
Getting a sweat on can be an excellent way to improve the quality of your sleep.
Whether it be going for a long walk as the sun rises, or an intense gym workout during lunch - doing exercise is a proven way to get better sleep.
However, it is essential to remember not to exercise later at night, close to bedtime. This is a surefire way to worsen your sleep quality, as your body gets more alert and awake due to being put under physical stress.
The combination of hormones released, such as adrenaline, wakes you up and can have the opposite effect on improving your sleep quality.
Wake up early, get your workout in - your brain and body will thank you.
Improve the quality of your bed
How many of us toss and turn in bed, feeling uncomfortable with our backs aching?
Sleeping in a bad quality bed that isn’t right for you can lead to consistently poor sleep. You remain uncomfortable, and it is a difficult situation to fix.
Some of us need a harder mattress; some suffer from back pain when we lie down - and so need our heads to be slightly elevated. We stack pillow upon pillow on our existing mattresses to fix our pain - but this is only temporary comfort.
If you’re struggling with back pain when sleeping, consider using an adjustable bed base to soothe the ache. The FlexiSport EB01 Adjustable Bed Base is an excellent choice for those who need that extra elevation.
This premium bed frame can be controlled remotely, allowing you to adjust the head portion of your mattress up and down - all the way from 0 to a quite remarkable 60 degrees.
As a versatile piece of equipment, this high-quality bed frame is able to fit into existing bed frames, can accommodate separate sleep preferences, and has a sturdy steel base able to last for over 10 years.
It is certainly something to consider if you are struggling to sleep due to back pain, or simply due to being uncomfortable in your current bed.
Set an optimal bedroom temperature
Being too cold or too hot can make it very difficult to sleep deeply. We’ve all experienced waking up in the middle of the night, either freezing or overly warm.
Make sure to set your bedroom temperature at a suitable level. The perfect temperature tends to be around 22°C (72°F) - however, this can differ according to personal preference.
If 22°C doesn’t work for you, try to adjust the temperature a few degrees up or down to tune it to your personal preference. If your sleep improves, choose the alternative temperature as your new optimum.
Skip the caffeine
To all the tea, coffee and soft drink lovers, it may seem like I have committed a cardinal sin - but please don’t panic.
Feel free to drink to your heart’s content in the first half of the day. Skip the caffeine for the second half.
Having limited - or preferably no caffeine for around 6 hours before bed can work wonders for your sleep. Caffeine is a natural stimulant, and its effects can last for a while before they wear off sufficiently.
Even if you do fall asleep with caffeine, the quality of your sleep is unlikely to be adequate, so it is best to avoid caffeine altogether when the clock ticks 4pm (assuming you sleep at 10pm).
If you can avoid caffeine altogether or stop earlier than 4pm, this works even better.
The crucial part is to keep it sustainable and do what fits you best!
Sleep is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. Consider the following tips to boost your sleep and get you fresher and healthier than ever.
Skip the caffeine, hit the gym and get yourself a quality bed base. For your sleep, it’s all worth it.