Have you given much thought to the fact that we sleep, on average, for a third of our entire lives? Over the years, and most recently with the global sensation that is Matt Walker, experts from all backgrounds – health specialists, philosophers, scientists, and physicians – have been trying to encourage the public to take sleep health more seriously.
Matt Walker is a sleep scientist and writes that the singular goal of his book, Why We Sleep, is “to reunite humanity with sleep.” In his book, he underlines the mechanisms in which sleep restores health, slows aging, and improves performance – academic, musical, and sporting. Recent evidence now even shows that a lack of sleep influences our ability to accurately read emotion, indicating that those who sleep less perceive others to be more hostile or aggressive.
Sleep is imperative to our human health, but tragically, of a household population older than 15 years old, almost 15% of the Canadian population struggle with insomnia. If you think this may not be concerning, some results are showing that about 90% of the staggering economic burden comes from work absenteeism and reduced productivity.
A lack of restorative sleep – most easily noticed in those with insomnia – can wreak absolute havoc in your life. If you, or someone you know, is struggling to get a sufficient quantity or quality sleep, there are many changes that you can make to your routine and sleep environment that can transform how well you rest. Let’s dive into some of the top tips!
Invest in good quality sleep designs
It is essential for those wanting to improve their sleep that you begin assessing your sleeping environment by looking at your mattress, pillow, and blanket. With a variety of products to choose from at resthousesleep.com, one can get a sense of how many options are available to you. With all the time that we spend sleeping, it is important to budget carefully for a high-quality mattress. Your body will definitely thank you later!
How suitable is your mattress?
A mattress – preferably an orthopedic one – is designed to alleviate your spine and back from any unnecessary strain while you’re resting. Ensuring the correct alignment of your spine is vital to promote better circulation, and you are bound to feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud! However, a fantastic mattress is no good with a flat or inadequate pillow.
Get a good pillow
Pillows are oftentimes underestimated, but essentially, an orthopedic or good quality pillow helps your neck stay in a comfortable position while you’re lying down. If you mostly sleep on your side, then the pillow will perfectly fit the curvature of your head to support your neck during sleep. And if you didn’t know, it is best to sleep without a pillow if you’re sleeping on your stomach. Overextension leads to unnecessary strain, affecting subtle pain levels and discomfort the following day.
How about your blankets?
After you have your pillow and mattress ready, you may wonder if your blanket is suitable? While weighted blankets are becoming more popular, a great recommendation – which most people are unaware of – is to have your bedroom temperature slightly lower than during the day. This indicates that our blankets should be more lightweight than we are used to and allow more breathability during the night.
Evolutionarily, a drop in temperature to between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for sleep! The lower temperature at night coincides with the sun setting and sends the right signals that it’s time for sleep. If indoor cooling is not possible, consider a fan that will help bring the temperature down slightly.
Some recommended advice if you’re struggling
Everyone knows not to drink caffeine too late in the day, but did you know that experts recommend not to drink coffee after 2 or 3 pm? Caffeine disrupts your ability to fall asleep and remains in a deeply restful state. The same is true for alcohol. Unfortunately, having a ‘nightcap’ will produce the opposite effect as intended. Many people report waking up in the middle of the night after a night of drinking. Therefore, it is best to get to bed sober if you want to have a good night’s sleep!
There are so many extra tips for a better night’s sleep; take a look:
- Wearing cooler pajamas at night is another easy way to ensure our temperature stays cool at night.
- A darkened room is better for focused rest, helping regulate melatonin levels and even lower the risk of depression.
- Meditation can really help ease feelings of distress, relieving mental confusion and relaxing you for the night of sleep ahead.
- Exercise every day to rid the body of pent-up stress hormones and feelings of anxiety or frustration. Going to bed with a clear head and a tired body is bound to help you sleep more soundly.