Do you get enough sleep? I almost never do. Between Keira’s erratic sleep patterns and the work that I need to do online, I sometimes get as few as four hours of sleep at a time. And naps are not an option for me – not with my busy schedule. So I need to make sure that the sleep I do get is the best quality that it can be. So if you aren’t getting enough sleep either, how can you fix the problem? You know that it is important to get enough sleep: lack of sleep makes you irritable, impairs your judgment and your reaction time, and over time it raises your risk of obesity and of Type 2 diabetes. These are just a few issues that arise. Here are some hints to help you get better sleep and make the most out of the sleep you get.
1. Embrace the Darkness: Light has a huge effect on your ability to sleep well. Make sure that you block out the light (especially if your partner watches TV or if you work the night shift) by using a premium sleep mask such as the SleepTight Mask by G7. With high-quality stitching and an adjustable Velcro strap, the SleepTight Mask will stay in place and will fully cover your eyes – no light leaking. The uniquely shape keeps light out but also gives your eyes room so that you won’t feel like the mask is pressed against your eyeballs, and you will be able to open your eyes without discomfort. When you purchase the SleepTight Mask, you get one for you and one for your significant other.
2. Curb your Caffeine: Caffeine works great to wake you up in the morning, but it can be your enemy when you are trying to fall asleep at night. Try to restrict your caffeine intake to earlier in the day so that it does not disrupt your sleep. The same goes for alcohol and spicy foods. These don’t necessarily bother everyone, but they are a good place to start if you have trouble sleeping.
3. Make Yourself Comfortable: I have heard people say that you should always invest in a good bed and a good pair of shoes – because if you aren’t in one, you are in the other. And it is true. Without a comfortable mattress and pillow, you are not going to get a good night’s sleep. And a bad mattress can affect you throughout the day, with aches and pains that you don’t need to have. Even a good mattress should be replaced every 10 years or so.
4. Get Into a Groove: Develop a bedtime routine. Do only things that relax you, and avoid over-stimulation. Read a book, listen to music, take a bath, or have a cup of tea.
5. Go Off the Grid: Unplug! Studies have shown that all of the time that we spend in front of screens (computers, devices, televisions) can seriously affect our sleep in a harmful way. Set a specific time every night to unplug, and stick to it. It should be at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. It will be difficult at first but it will soon add relaxation to your night.
6. Schedule It: It is very important for your sleep quality that you stick to a schedule. Don’t sleep in on the weekends, even though it is tempting. Sticking to a regular bedtime and rising time will help your body to be able to fall asleep more quickly and maintain better sleep.
7. Eliminate Environmental Distractions: Sound and temperature are as important as light in getting a good night’s sleep. Make sure that the temperature is not too hot or too cool – both can keep you awake. A good temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees. Sounds are very distracting and can disrupt your sleep as well. If you are in a noisy neighborhood, are traveling, or have a spouse who snores, earplugs are a good solution. You can also run a fan or get a white noise machine if you cannot sleep in absolute silence.
Now it’s time to go stock your bedtime toolkit: herbal tea, a SleepTight Mask, earplugs, a good book, and a new pillow should do it for starters. Whatever you do, don’t neglect your sleep. It has health ramifications far down the road, and can make you look older than your actual age. Take these simple steps to ensure your best possible night of sleep.