Sleep Hygiene 101: How to Get More ZZZs
There’s nothing like waking up feeling rested after a good night’s sleep. Opening your eyes moments before your alarm clock buzzes, you feel awake and ready to face the day. Your head is clear, you feel relaxed and recharged.
Unfortunately, for most of us, that scenario is a rarity. So, how can you improve your sleep and why does it matter? In this short and sweet guide, we’ll cover the basics to help you get the rest you need.
WHY IS SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?
Believe it or not, getting the rest you need has a positive impact on many areas of your life. For one thing, research suggests that getting good quality sleep can lead to better cognition and problem-solving abilities. Put simply, if you get a good night’s rest, you’re likely to perform better when it comes to work and creative tasks.
Of course, it doesn’t end there! Boosting your sleep has also been linked to better athletic performance, improved immune system, and a more levelled mood. With that in mind, taking the time to improve your sleep and get more of it could be the best way to improve all aspects of your day-to-day life. What’s more, during this period of uncertainty, getting rest is more important than ever as is sticking to a solid routine.
HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT'S SLEEP
Ready to get more ZZZs? You’ve come to the right place. There’s no magic pill that will help you rest up. However, there are some small science-backed lifestyle changes you can make that could help you along the way. Here are five tricks you can try for yourself.
1. TRY MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
Inhale, exhale and relax! Taking the time to be present in the moment and practice mindfulness could benefit your sleep at night. One clinical trial found that mindfulness meditation helped adults with sleep disturbances get a better quality of sleep. Naturally, there are many different ways you may want to start your mindful journey.
For instance, you might want to use mindfulness apps, such as Headspace and Calm, or simply try keeping a gratitude journal. It’s all about figuring out what works for you and your lifestyle. Regardless of the practice you choose, taking some ‘you time’ to unwind before you hit the hay is an ideal way to improve your chances of a good night’s sleep.
2. ADOPT A SUNNIER OUTLOOK
Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person? Surprisingly, your outlook on life could have a direct impact on how well you sleep. Research from the University of Illinois suggests that optimistic people enjoy better quality sleep and sleep longer each night. While you can’t overhaul your personality, it may help to try to adopt a sunnier outlook. In simple terms, looking on the bright side could lead to more ZZZs!
3. TAKE A BATH TO UNWIND
Before you turn in for the night, do you take the time to truly relax? One of the tips you may want to try is bathing in the evening to get you in the right mindset for sleep. Biomedical engineers from the University of Texas at Austin found that taking a bath 90 minutes before you go to bed could improve your sleep. As though that weren’t enough, the study found that the optimal water temperature was between 40 and 42 °C.
Creating an evening routine that includes calming activities, such as having a bath, is a savvy idea. Consider the things that help you feel at ease. You might want to read a book, light a candle, or simply listen to an audiobook. Mentally preparing yourself to sleep is just as important as physically preparing yourself. Keep that in mind!
4. INCREASE YOUR EXERCISE REGIME
Do you exercise during the day? Now that we all have to stay home, getting physically active can be tough. However, research from Oregon State University suggests that engaging in at least 150 hours of exercise each week can help people sleep better. That equates to just over 20 minutes per day, i.e. not a huge amount of time.
Squeezing some activity into your daily routine doesn’t have to be a struggle. You may want to try a no-equipment workout at home or follow YouTube tutorials. Try scheduling a small block of time for exercise each day. You might find it helps you nod off each night.
5. CUT BACK ON ALCOHOL
While we all love a tipple now and then, drinking alcohol could be playing havoc with our sleep. Research into ‘Dry January’ from the University of Sussex found that 71% of people who abstained completely also reported better sleep. That being said, if you tend to drink regularly, you might want to consider ways that you can cut back or even quit completely.
Resting up each night is the foundation of every aspect of your health and wellness. Why not try these tricks and tips to get better and more sleep each night? Revamping your sleep hygiene could make a serious difference to your everyday lifestyle.