The best quality sleep: four tips to improve your nights

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Sleep’s an important part of life, some might even say necessary. But it’s all too common for external factors to keep us from getting our full eight hours. From sleep disorders to old mattresses, from workplace stress to noisy neighbors, more things are keeping us awake than ever. This pervasive lack of rest is manageable at first but keep it up and it won’t be too long before the sleep deprivation starts to impact your physical and mental health, and the effects can be pretty severe.

However, as there are a myriad of ways to lose out on sleep, there’s also a variety of methods that you can use to get it back. With the tips and tricks provided below, it’ll be easier than ever to catch up on much needed Z’s and get the quality rest that you deserve after a long, tiring day.

Unplug

Technology has become pretty ubiquitous in our day to day lives, which shouldn’t be particularly surprising considering how convenient it is. Our phones for instance have become vital tools in our lives, allowing us to call distant friends and relatives, easily keep up with recent news, and stave off boredom with our favorite websites all with a device we keep in our pockets. However, with that utility there also comes a few drawbacks, namely a hefty disruption in our sleep schedules.

Our brains have a certain way of doing things when it comes to sleep, they produce melatonin (a compound that induces drowsiness) as the day wears on and the sky gets darker. But with the introduction of artificial light, particularly the blue light emitted from phones and laptops, our brains can’t tell what time it is. As a result, we stay wired and awake for way longer than is healthy and pay for it when morning comes around. 

Luckily, there’s an easy fix: no technology in bed. Set a time an hour or two before you go to sleep where all your tech is turned off and tucked away. Relax on the pillow or read a good book while you wind down, either way you’ll be drifting off to dreamland in no time at all.

Meditate

Nothing works us up quite like our anxieties and our worries have this funny way of popping up just after we close our eyes to get some rest. We’ll stay awake for a bit trying to quiet them down again, maybe get up to grab some water or distract ourselves with a game but just when we think we’ve finally silenced them, as soon as your head hits the pillow, there they are. It’s a rough cycle and it can be a difficult one to escape from, especially at night when we’re mostly alone with just our thoughts. 

But, fortunately, meditation has proven to be an effective way of getting out of our heads and residing more in the moment where those racing thoughts can’t get us. It’s pretty easy to get started too, all it takes is putting aside 10-15 minutes before you go to sleep to close your eyes and focus your mind. It’ll be a little difficult calming your thoughts at first but if you’re having trouble a sleep mantra can be just the extra push you need to get some undisturbed sleep.

Set a Schedule

As stated previously, the brain has certain processes it goes through before finally getting to sleep. Of course, that process is subject to change according to when you get to sleep and if you find yourself getting to bed at odd hours, waking up when you need to is going to prove difficult (and probably leave you grumpy for the rest of the day).

To combat that disruption in your body’s natural sleep cycle, a good habit to get into is setting up a sleep schedule. Having a bedtime helps to regulate the sleep process by creating external signals for your body to know when it’s time to hit the hay. Having that consistency will greatly benefit the quality of your sleep, allowing you to get more and even mitigate waking up in the middle of the night.

Replace Your Mattress

Now, if you find that your lack of sleep is more of a matter of comfort and not stress or odd hours, it might be time to replace your mattress. On average we spend 33 percent of our lives asleep and spending that time on an old mattress won’t do your body any favors. While, yes, it will ultimately cost you sleep, it can also cause sore muscles and chronic back pain.

Buying a new mattress can be pricey but a good mattress can last up to ten years if taken care of. Spending a little more on your sleeping arrangements means making an investment in the quality of your sleep and your continued health.

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