Sleep is essential to both your physical well-being and your state of mind. While there are expert recommendations on how much sleep each person should get every night, not everyone is able to easily abide by these suggestions. In fact, plenty of people have problems falling asleep or staying asleep.
Many of the issues that affect sleep can be remedied. Below, our experts point out four of the best ways you can optimize your sleep and help yourself to improve the quality of your rest.
Turn the TV Off
Did you know that both artificial and natural lights affect your body’s internal sleep clock? In part, this is why experts recommend you stop watching TV, playing on your phone or working on a laptop at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to going to bed. (In fact, most experts recommend that you do not even install a TV in your bedroom to help eliminate the desire to watch one while lying in bed.) The other issue with these devices is the type of light they emit. The blue light emitted by electronic devices suppresses melatonin.
Keeping a TV on while you sleep is even worse. Not only can the fluctuating lights from dynamic on-screen environments mess with your sleep cycle, but the sounds can also create issues as well. From silent or quiet scenes to action-packed bangs and pops, volumes are inconsistent and can interrupt how deeply you are able to sleep, thus limiting the amount of rest you actually get.
Create a Relaxing Pre-Sleep Routine
Creating a routine that will help your mind and body to relax before bed is a great way to optimize your sleep. High-stress or activities that increase your heart rate are proven to cause sleep issues when it comes time to rest. They also impact your ability to transition from being awake into a deep, restful sleep.
In the hour or so before bed—when you have turned your TV off—start a routine that will help to relax you. This could include taking a bath, listening to calming music, reading a book, or practicing some simple yoga-based stretches. Activities that reduce or alleviate stress, anger, or energy helps to increase your transition into sleep, thus optimizing your rest.
Invest in a Quality Mattress
Your mattress also affects your sleep. Whether you sleep on an organic mattress, latex model, or adjustable one—age, firmness, sleep positions, and weight can all affect how well you sleep.
Coil mattresses, for example, are often the cheapest and most popular type of mattresses available today. Not only are they often some of the firmest models, but they are also known for keeping sleepers cool as air circulates freely through the coils. While coils may be made of different materials, strengths, and sizes, these mattresses typically last around 8 years.
Once the mattress has become too warm, the coils will no longer respond appropriately and the center may sag. This can seriously affect the quality of your sleep. Of course, you or your partner’s weight can affect the lifespan of your mattress. For example, individuals who weigh 200 pounds or more are considered to be “heavy” sleepers when it comes to a mattress. This puts additional stresses on your coil mattress and can mean you begin to notice sagging as early as 6 years instead of 8.
Memory foam mattresses, which are expected to last 10 years, are another popular type of mattress. Memory foam mattresses offer deep contouring, great pressure relief, and wonderful support. However, they are also notoriously hot to sleep on and may not be best for those who are prone to overheating while sleeping. That being said, memory foam mattresses have come a long way and several have incorporated cooling gel or other features to help reduce heat retention.
Latex mattresses have some of the longest lifespans, lasting up to 12 years. They offer great bounce, more structure than a memory foam mattress, but less than a coil one. As a middle ground between the two, latex is often used to top hybrid beds made of coils and memory foam to help reduce heat retention while still providing excellent support and contouring.
Understanding your sleep preferences and how your mattress selection influences your rest is important. If it is time for a new mattress, make sure you understand how to select the best organic mattress for you to optimize sleep.
Your Bedroom, Your Sleep Haven
Quiet, dark environments are more conducive to sleep. In fact, a darker room helps facilitate better sleep. To help turn your room into your personal sleep haven, take a look around. If you have windows, are they covered with room-darkening curtains to help prevent outside lights from seeping in?
Some sleepers also benefit from the addition of “white noise”, such as a fish tank or specially made appliance, which helps block out other sounds that can affect your ability to sleep. (For example, if you live in an apartment complex with loud neighbors, a white noise machine may help drown out scoot chairs, stomping boots, and other such sounds created by occupants of surrounding rentals.)
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