According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. One in three of us has sleep problems – which is no surprise when we’re working longer, stressing more and dealing with serious information overload every day. Despite being essential to our health and wellbeing, when we’re feeling overwhelmed sleep is often the first casualty. Here’s how to get more quality time between the sheets.
According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. Our daily lives include long working hours, high-stress levels, constant blue light exposure, and information overload causing serious issues with our ability to get quality sleep.
Sleep is essential to health and wellbeing. Here are five tips you can implement every night to ensure you get some good shut-eye.
1. Relaxing Ritual
A great way to ensure you fall asleep at night is to establish a relaxing bedtime ritual. The act of preparing for bed should be conducted away from bright lights and help separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety. This can be taking time to do a nighttime skincare routine, brushing your hair and changing into comfy PJs or reading a relaxing book to calm your mind.
Regular exercise can help you sleep better at night as well as make you more alert during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Keep in mind that it can take several months of regular activity to see sleep-promoting effects.
3. Focus on Comfort
When sleeping, comfort is key. Therefore ensure you choose a mattress and pillows that are extremely comfortable. A good mattress should be comfortable and supportive and should last about 9 to 10 years. Comfortable pillows ensure you will sleep comfortably throughout the night. It is also important to ensure your room is free of allergens and anything that might disrupt your sleep.
4. Effect of Light
Light can have a lasting and strong effect on your circadian rhythms. It is important to avoid bright light in the evening but expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This keeps your rhythm in check. However, the blue light emitted from your phone and laptop can also have an effect on your sleep cycle. It is a good idea to stop using your phone at least 30 minutes before bed. If you need to work online for extended periods of time and struggle to sleep it might be wise to invest in blue light canceling glasses.
5. The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
A breathing technique pioneered by American sleep expert Dr. Andrew Weil encourages the lungs to fill up completely and allow more oxygen into the body. This, in turn, allows the body to relax. Place the tip of the tongue behind your two front teeth then breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Hold the breath for seven seconds before exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat four times.