Were you out shopping all night and day after your family get together?
When your head finally reached your pillow, did you sleep the best you have in a long time?
Do you wish you could sleep like that every night?
How you feel during your waking hours hinges greatly on how well you sleep. Similarly, the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine or your mattress. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices can make an enormous difference to the quality of your nightly rest. The following tips will let you know if you need to change the foundation you are sleeping on to help optimize your sleep so you can be productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.
Keep regular sleep habits: Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late. Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime.
Naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle: Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production is controlled by light exposure. Your brain should secrete more in the evening, when it’s dark, to make you sleepy, and less during the day when it’s light and you want to stay awake and alert. However, many aspects of modern life can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin and with it your sleep-wake cycle, such as the television, cell phone or computer.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine: If you make a consistent effort to relax and unwind before bed, you will sleep easier and more deeply. A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses.
Keep your room cool. The temperature of your bedroom also affects sleep. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65° F or 18° C) with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to invest in a new mattress or a try a different pillow. Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam, bed toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support. Curiously, most people don’t even think about their mattress set until they see visual breakdown of their current set, when in fact, it might have been broken down for years.
Here are a few things that tell you it’s time to start shopping for a new mattress set:
If it looks visually worn. If you can see coils poking out
If you can feel coils when you lie down
If you’re sleeping on a hand-me-down from your parents or worse, your grandparents
If you know your mattress set is five to seven years old
If the cover is stained with coffee, dirt and anything else
If you’re embarrassed of the way your mattress looks without sheets on it
If you’re still sleeping on that mattress you bought yourself in college, it’s probably not doing the best job for you now that you’re an adult.
If you see any type of sagging (that would be more than 1 ½ inches of an impression in your bed)
If your arm or other extremity falls asleep or tingles when you sleep on your side or stomach, your bed may be too hard
If when you sit on the bed it creaks
If you don’t have enough room for you and your partner and the animals and children who come to sleep with you throughout the night
And, of course if you toss and turn every night it might be your mattress! Most people blame it on stress, work, children, noises, temperature and a host of other possible sleep-stealers, but stop and think about whether it’s time for a new mattress set.
Eat right and get regular exercise: Your daytime eating and exercise habits play a role in how well you sleep. It’s particularly important to watch what you put in your body in the hours leading up to your bedtime.Stay away from big meals at night. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Avoid alcohol before bed. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.Some people prefer to schedule exercise in the morning. Don’t feel glued to the couch in the evening. Try relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.