While it's fairly common knowledge that quality sleep is essential to overall wellness, there are several factors that can keep you from getting the rest you need. However, overcoming them is well within your control.
"A lack of sleep can often be the result of poor habits, environmental variables or a combination of factors," said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, an associate professor at Duke University Medical Center and sleep health expert for Mattress Firm. "Undiagnosed medical disorders aside, most people find that overcoming their sleep obstacles is very achievable."
Try improving your sleep with these seven tips from Kansagra:
• Create an atmosphere conducive to sleep by choosing comfortable bedding and setting the thermostat to a temperature between 68-72 F. An ambient noise machine may drown out traffic and other sleep-disturbing sounds. If it's not possible to completely darken your room, try installing dark-out curtains or wearing a sleep mask.
• Blue light emitted by electronic devices and ambient light may delay or disrupt your sleep. It's best to remove or limit cellphones and other sources of bright light from the bedroom at least 30 minutes before it's time for you to fall asleep.
• Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it. At about the same time each evening, listen to soothing music, read a book or take a warm bath or shower. Yoga moves that relax muscles and promote steady breathing can be helpful but avoid vigorous activity that accelerates your heart rate before bedtime.
• Be conscious of factors that may affect the quality of your rest. If you have reflux or experience frequent back pain, your sleep may not be as restful. Consider upgrading your bed with an adjustable base that allows you to change your sleep position with the simple push of a button. A slight elevation to your neck and head can allow for a more open airway and a quieter night of sleep. Adjustable bases like those from Mattress Firm offer a movable foundation for your mattress. Because of its adaptability, an adjustable base is suitable for sleepers with chronic pain or reflux, as well as the average sleeper looking for more comfort.
• If your mattress shows signs of age, it may be the reason you have trouble falling asleep. There are several factors that determine the "shelf life" of your mattress, including quality and usage, so it's important to evaluate your mattress regularly to make sure it's still giving you the support you need for a good night's sleep.
• If you are unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes, try getting out of bed and doing something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Staying in bed and watching the clock increases your anxiety and can make it more difficult to drift off.
• Remember that good daytime habits promote better quality sleep at night. You may be rewarded with a better night's sleep by exercising daily, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet and reducing or eliminating nicotine. Avoid naps during the day if possible, but if one is required, limit it to 30 minutes or less and take it early in the afternoon. Get outside during the morning to enjoy the benefits of natural light, which is a strong regulator of the biological clock.
Not getting an appropriate amount of sleep can be detrimental to your physical and mental well-being and may pose serious health risks. Find more information to help improve your sleep at mattressfirm.com/blog.