Like oxygen, water and food, humans need sleep to survive. Anyone who has stayed awake through an all-nighter for work or study may have experienced the toll lack of sleep can take on your abilities to get through the next day.
While it may seem nearly impossible to get the recommended 7-9 hours each night, it’s important to heed warnings to prioritize sleep in order to maintain good health. If you find yourself frequently experiencing sleep issues, such as insomnia, it may be time to brush up on some tips that can help you get a good night’s rest. Read on to learn why sleep is so important and how you can implement a few easy changes in your day to improve sleep.
How Important is Enough Sleep?
A lack of sleep can do a number of things to the body, each of which can impact your health in a different way. Too little sleep has an effect on your mental and physical states as well as your abilities to perform certain tasks. Some studies have shown that people who get too little sleep have a higher risk of certain conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Other diseases increased by a lack of adequate sleep include
- Heart attack,
- Heart failure,
- High blood pressure, and
- Irregular heartbeat.
In addition to physical symptoms, a lack of sleep can take a mental toll. If you are having poor sleep, you might experience increasing instances of anxiety or depression. Insomnia and depression are frequently linked.
Serious accidents, in the workplace and on the road, are commonly linked to fatigue and a lack of sleep. In many cases, sleepy drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk drivers.
In addition to decreasing alertness, a lack of sleep is also linked to shorter attention spans and a hindered ability to learn new information. From problem-solving skills to reasoning, too little sleep impacts several areas of your mental state.
Too little sleep has the power to affect your skin, as well. Poor sleep can manifest itself on your skin after just one night, and the issue can become permanent if a lack of sleep becomes a pattern. From dark circles underneath the eyes to sallow skin and fine lines, adequate sleep is essential to keeping your skin healthy. For this reason and various others, like weight gain and a decrease in sex drive, it’s important that you take steps to improve sleep.
What Can I Do to Improve Sleep?
If you suffer from insomnia or another sleep disorder, you may be searching for a means to ensure you get the recommended amount of sleep. What works for you may not work for someone else, so it’s crucial that you experiment with different techniques to find one that fits your needs.
Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
Hitting the sheets and waking up at the same times each day promote a regular sleep pattern that should make it easier for you to fall asleep as consistency reinforces the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, get up and engage in a relaxing activity until you become tired. Agonizing over your inability to fall asleep can make it harder to doze off.
Create a Relaxing Space
Since a significant portion of your life is spent sleeping, it’s worth creating a relaxing space that allows you to rest peacefully each night. A cool, quiet and dark room is best for promoting deep sleep. You may find you sleep best with a fan or earplugs or by darkening the shades. Also be sure that your pillow and mattress are comfortable.
Your nutrition has more to do with your sleep patterns than you may realize. Going to bed either hungry or on a full stomach can result in discomfort, which may keep you up at night. Drinking too much liquid is also a no-no, as it may result in too many late night bathroom trips that can disrupt your normal sleep. Also be cautious of how much nicotine, alcohol or caffeine you consume close to bedtime.
Ensuring you are healthy is a great way to encourage great sleep. Aside from a healthy diet, making time for regular exercise can promote a better rest. Do be aware of the times in which you are exercising. Physical activity too close to your bedtime can leave you too energized, which may make it difficult to fall asleep. If you find this is an issue, think about exercising earlier in the day – the morning, perhaps.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Sticking to a tried and true bedtime routine is a great way to stabilize your sleep patterns. Doing the same activities every night will help your body relax and wind down. From taking a warm shower to listening to calming music, there are a number of things you can do to prepare your body for rest. While it may be tempting to watch television or browse the web on your smartphone before bed, though, do realize that these have the power to interfere with sleep.
Manage Your Stress
Keeping a positive mental state can help you sleep better at night. Too much stress has the ability to hinder your rest, so do try to manage stress when possible. From getting organized to setting priorities, keeping your life in order will keep you in a more relaxed state of mind. Racing thoughts are often a major roadblock on the path to good sleep.
Are There Other Options?
If you are having issues with getting enough rest, it may be time to consult a professional. Aside from medical intervention, there are also a variety of all natural remedies you can use to promote deep, relaxing sleep or help with how to sleep with anxiety. Sleep is crucial to a healthy, active lifestyle. Are you doing all you can to improve sleep?
How to sleep with anxiety
What activities do you find most relaxing before bedtime? Share your best sleep tips in the comments below.