Getting a good night’s sleep plays an important role in our daily lives. Besides the fact that it has a positive impact on our health, it also influences our behaviors, thought processes, hormones, work performance, exercise performance, and more.
Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on our health. It can increase the risk of getting diseases, and also affect your day-to-day performance. However, even with these negative impacts, studies have shown that sleep quantity and quality have declined over the years. Many people have trouble sleeping at night which can have an adverse effect on their health.
In order to be at the top of your game in your everyday life, lose weight properly, and optimize your health, you need great sleep quality. You need to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours a day. But how do you do this when you’re usually tossing and turning at night? How do you improve your sleep quality and fall asleep faster? These and some other questions are what asked the sleep experts at SleepSoWell and we’ll be providing their answers in this guide on how to get a good night’s sleep.
Why Am I Not Sleeping Through The Night?
Having trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. Being unable to get good sleep during the night is known as sleep deprivation. It happens when you get less sleep than you need in order to remain alert, feel awake, and function on the highest level. Sleep deprivation or lack of sleep can be caused by many different factors. While older adults may be able to resist the effects of poor sleep quality, others like young adults and children are more susceptible.
Not getting enough sleep can decrease your work performance, school performance, cause obesity, lead to mood swings, lead to lower life perception, cause emotional difficulties, accidents, and daytime sleepiness. So what are the causes of poor sleep? Why can’t you get a good night’s sleep? Below are some of the contributing factors to why you’re not sleeping well:
Sleep Disorder: These include restless leg syndrome, insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. You may need to seek medical advice if you’re having any of these sleep disorders.
Illness: Being sick can also cause people to lose sleep. Poor sleep quality is common with illnesses like schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic pain syndrome.
Age: Many people over the age of sixty-five have difficulty sleeping. This may be as a result of the medication they’re taking or an underlying health issue.
Other Factors: Some other factors that can cause sleep deprivation include stress, a change in routine, environment, or schedule, a new baby, overthinking, and more.
Symptoms Depicting Sleep Deprivation
There are many different ways to tell that you’re not getting enough sleep. At first, these symptoms are minor and can be overlooked. But as time goes on, you’ll start to notice them becoming more serious. Below are some sleep deprivation symptoms depicting that you need to get better sleep:
- Memory problems
- Less ability to resist and fight infections
- Inability to concentrate
- Less physical strength
- Reduced sex drive
- Depressed mood
- Lack of motivation
- Increased craving for carbs and a high appetite
- Inability to fully grasp new concepts
Over Time Symptoms
- Increased risk for mental illness and depression
- Severe mood swings
- Increased risk for getting involved in potentially life-threatening problems, such as car accidents.
- Untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy
- Increased risk for asthma attacks and stroke
What Will Help Me Sleep Better At Night?
According to a 2015 report by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), the right sleep duration for specific age groups in a day are:
- 0 to 3 months (Newborns): 14 to 17 hours
- 4 to 11 months (Infants): 12 to 15 hours
- 1 to 2 years (Toddlers): 11 to 14 hours
- 3 to 5 years (Preschoolers): 10 to 13 hours
- 6 to 13 years (School-age kids): 9 to 11 hours
- 14 to 17 years (Teenagers): 8 to 10 hours
- 18 to 64 (Adults): 7 to 9 hours
- 65 and older (Older Adults): 7 to 8 hours
So how do you achieve optimal sleep at night? We’ve included some great tips below to help you get better sleep at night:
Create A Welcoming Bedroom Environment
Your bedroom environment can be a contributing factor to why you’re not getting enough sleep. You need to optimize your bedroom and make it as accommodating and welcoming as possible. Factors like furniture arrangement, external lights, noise, and temperature need to be optimized as getting them right may help you fall asleep easily.
Reduce bright lights, noise, and artificial lights from devices like chargers and alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is comforting, welcoming, clean, relaxing, quiet, well-arranged, and serene.
Make Sure Your Bed, Mattress, And Pillows Are Comfortable
Many people wonder why they are able to sleep comfortably in a hotel and they can’t do the same at home. The answer is simple; hotels provide a very relaxing environment and they invest in comfortable beds. Bed quality can contribute to you getting better sleep. You’ll fall asleep easily and wake up every day feeling refreshed and revigorated.
Besides enhancing your sleep quality, a good bed can also decrease health issues like back pain, stiffness, as well as shoulder and hip pain. It is recommended that you change or upgrade your bed at least every five to eight years. The type of bedding you upgrade to depends on your personal preference. For instance, while you may like firm mattresses, others may prefer medium-firm mattresses. Also, there are ideal mattresses to suit your sleeping position whether you’re a side, back or stomach sleeper.
Size is another factor you want to consider, especially if you have a partner. You can choose between a California king, queen, or king mattress. And for more comfort, less motion transfer, and better responsiveness, you can simply choose the best hybrid mattress you can afford. While a bed upgrade can be expensive, it’s one fix that can help you get a good night’s rest. For more information on factors to consider when buying a mattress and the best products to spend your money on, take a look at these mattress guides.
Stick To A Sleep Schedule
We’ve listed the number of recommended sleeping hours for each age group above. For a typical adult, you’re advised to sleep for no less than 7 to 8 hours. Create a sleep routine and stick to it. This will help you get the best sleep while keeping your body healthy.
Go to bed at the same time each day and wake up at the same time each day. Minimize the time difference between your weekday and weekend sleep schedule to a maximum of one hour. When you’re consistent with this schedule, your body will reinforce and adjust to this sleep-wake cycle.
If you’re unable to fall asleep within twenty minutes of laying down, read a book, or engage yourself in a relaxing task. Don’t expose yourself to light from mobile devices and simply go back to bed when you’re tired.
Be Wary Of Your Meals
Eat a decent and light meal before going to bed. Avoid going to bed stuffed or hungry. Once your bedtime is close, ensure that you don’t take anything large or heavy. Being uncomfortable may keep you up at night, thereby increasing the risk of a sleep disorder.
Also, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine late in the day or close to bedtime. This is because the stimulating effect in caffeine and nicotine takes hours to wear off, which can, in turn, disrupt your sleep cycle. And although alcohol may make you sleepy, it’s more likely to disturb your sleep during the night.
Minimize Daytime Naps
Taking long naps during the day can have an adverse effect on your nightly sleep cycle. Ensure that you keep your nap time as low as possible. Thirty minutes is the most optimal time for napping. Also, avoid taking naps late in the day as it may make you stay up late.
However, if you work night shifts, it’s recommended that you take long naps during the day. This will help make up for the sleep you lost during the night.
Including physical activities into your daily routine can help you fall asleep faster. However, ensure that you don’t exercise close to your bedtime.
How Do You Fall Asleep In 5 Minutes?
Release The Tension In Your Body: Tension can keep you from falling asleep easily. Therefore, it’s important that you eliminate every bit of tension in your body. What you need to do is relax and squeeze each muscle; simply massage each part of your body. Start from your toes and work your way up, ensuring that you remain aware of each part of your body.
Relax and Breathe: If you breathe too fast before settling down in bed, calming down and relaxing will be harder. This will, in turn, affect your ability to sleep easily. By slowly inhaling and exhaling, you’ll be regulating your nervous system, and preparing your body for a good night.
Roll Your Eyes Backwards: Simply simulate the type of eye movement you experience when you’re asleep. Roll your eyes upward and backward and you’ll feel yourself getting relaxed.
Hum To Yourself: Some studies have shown that the vibrations that come from humming can be relaxing. It can also serve as a disconnect from unwanted thoughts that may keep you up. Simply hum a song that neither has a fast rhythm nor puts you in an emotional state.
Imagine and Visualize: Create images of relaxing and peaceful places in your mind. Go back to memories that make you feel relaxed, content, and happy. This is more effective when you use at least three senses. Consider things you saw, tasted, and felt.
Know When To Talk To Your Doctor
Occasional sleepless nights may be something you don’t need to worry about. However, if you’re frequently having trouble sleeping, ensure that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. Identifying the symptoms and treating the causes can help you get that peaceful, restorative, and restful night you deserve.