Tips to Improve Your Sleep for Greater Health
Sleep problems are some of the most common issues experienced by Americans today. Many people occasionally experience insomnia symptoms, with many citing long work hours and electronic use as some of the reasons. Not only are we getting too little sleep, but we’re also suffering from deterioration of our sleep quality. Fortunately, improving your sleep isn’t as hard as it seems. Your mental health will thank you for it!
Learn How Sleep Affects Mental Health
We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, so it’s no surprise that sleep plays a key role in our mental health. According to the Harvard Medical School, the rejuvenating stage of REM sleep supports our emotional health, strengthens our memory, and contributes to daytime cognitive functioning. Sleep disruption impairs our thinking and makes it much more difficult to regulate our emotions during waking hours. This may be why insomnia has such a strong link to psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.
Develop a Bedtime Routine
Did you know your body can learn to sleep more efficiently? We can reinforce the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Following a bedtime routine can help your mind wind down and even tell your body that it’s time to produce sleep-inducing hormones. Try to engage in quiet, relaxing activities in the last 30 minutes before you go to bed. Of course, these activities will depend on your own personal preferences. Still, some great ideas include reading, doing yoga, listening to one of Mindful Way Coaching's meditations, and taking a bath. Just make sure you avoid stimulating activities like exercising, working, or watching TV.
Make Your Bed as Comfortable as Possible
If you wake up feeling sore and unrested no matter how much sleep you get, your bed may be the culprit. An uncomfortable bed causes you to sleep hot, toss and turn, wake up with back pain, and awaken when your partner moves. A good-quality mattress and comfortable bedding can make a huge difference. When looking for a new mattress, focus on back and pressure-point support. Memory foam, gel foam, and latex mattresses can all offer the support you need at different levels of firmness and temperature control.
Avoid Stimulating Foods and Beverages
In addition to avoiding stimulating activities, you should also avoid eating certain foods too close to bedtime. The following foods and beverages can disrupt your sleep by keeping your brain and digestive system active long after you’ve gone to bed:
● Caffeinated tea (including green tea)
● Sugar-filled desserts
● Dark chocolate
● Spicy foods
● Fatty fried foods