Sleep Problems: A Guide to Getting A Better Night’s Rest
Sleep is essential for good health and well-being, but unfortunately, many adults face sleepless nights or are unable to get a full night of restful sleep. There are many different factors that can affect your ability to sleep, including stress, certain medications, health problems or pain, and poor diet. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to be more proactive when it comes to ensuring that you get a good night’s rest. By trying some simple techniques, you should be able to sleep soundly and be more productive and alert during the day.
Why Sleep Is Difficult
There can be plenty of reasons why sleep is hard to come by, and stress is one of the most prevalent factors. When the mind is undergoing stress, it can create wandering thoughts that make it difficult to feel relaxed enough to fall asleep. Too much stimulation from smartphones, televisions, and computers before bed can trigger the mind to stay alert, making it more difficult to wind down at bedtime. Medical conditions like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can also affect your ability to either fall asleep or stay asleep. If you’re coping with interrupted sleep throughout the night, you will not feel fully rested the following day, which causes feelings of fatigue and brain fog.
Poor diet is another contributor to poor sleep. Diets high in sugar and caffeine create a stimulating effect that can prevent you from getting deep REM sleep. If you don’t have the best mattress, it can also affect your ability to sleep soundly. Avoid sleeping on mattresses that are either too firm or too soft and cannot properly support your body while lying down. Look into (mattress reviews) to find a new mattress that will give you a comfortable night’s rest and support your neck and back.
How to Get Better Sleep
There are many things you can do to improve your sleep and get a full night of rest. Start going to bed and waking up at the same time every night, even on the weekends. This helps to train your brain to understand a consistent sleep cycle. Turn the television off and put tablets and smartphones away at least one hour before heading to bed. Instead, read a book or listen to music to calm the mind. Avoid having a TV set in the bedroom; designate this room for sleeping only. Meditation and yoga are other good ways to relieve stress and get your body and mind relaxed. Eat a healthy diet and reduce your sugar and caffeine intake. Diets high in protein, fiber, and vitamins are not only good for you, but they’ll help you take in more natural sources of nutrients without stimulants. Foods like bananas, almonds, and avocado all contain naturally occurring nutrients that can contribute to better sleep.
Exercise can also be an excellent way to help you sleep. Avoid exercising close to bedtime, but a 30-minute walk or mild workout at least three times per week can help you rest much better. Drink hot tea that contains chamomile, a natural herbal sedative that will help you feel sleepy. Supplements like valerian root are also completely natural and can relieve stress and help calm your nerves.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is necessary to help regenerate the body for the next day. Your body creates new healthy cells while you’re sleeping to keep your brain and internal organs working at their maximum potential. Sleep also helps with keeping a strong immune system so you can fight off sickness and infection. Without enough sleep, you can experience feelings of fatigue, a short temper, and even depression. People who get ample sleep are more alert, have a more positive mindset, and are healthier overall. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can contribute to some forms of cancer and can also cause weight gain. Without enough sleep, the body produces excess amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes you to feel hungry and overeat during the day. Too much cortisol can also create excess belly fat, resulting in obesity and a higher risk of heart disease.
Lack of sleep will undoubtedly affect your ability to be productive at work. Studies have shown that people who get less than seven hours of sleep per night tend to be much less productive than their coworkers who get more sleep. In fact, approximately 85 percent of workers claim that they do not get enough sleep, costing companies an estimated $63 billion in lost revenue annually due to low productivity levels. Those who do get proper sleep have been shown to be 30 percent more focused and work at a faster pace than those who do not. With some simple lifestyle changes, you can ensure that you’re getting a good night of rest for a happier, more productive day.
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- Your Guide to Healthy Sleep (PDF)
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- What Does Sleep Do for Us?
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- Study: Physical Activity Impacts Quality of Sleep
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- Do Your Heart a Favor: Get More Sleep
Founder & Editor-in-ChiefDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sleepopolis. Derek has tested over 100 of the most popular online mattresses, and scores of other bedding accessories. His testing approach is grounded in objective criteria and personalized in-depth research. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Samantha and dog Tibbers.