Not getting enough sleep, or not getting enough restful sleep, can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life – and can even lead to some unpleasant physical side effects. Sleep is when your body has a chance to heal and repair most of its organs and tissues, so a chronic sleep deficiency can raise your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke, or diabetes.
There are some ways you can enhance the quality of your sleep, though, to help keep you healthy and prevent the development of these conditions. There are some medications that can make falling asleep easier and help you stay asleep longer – but these run the risk of becoming addictive. However, these tips and tricks will give you some natural options to get a more quality sleep on a more regular basis.
1. Limit your screen time.
Not only are these devices distracting you from fully unwinding and getting ready for bed, the blue light emitted from your computer, tablet, cell phone, and even your television can keep your body from producing melatonin. This important hormone is what controls your body’s circadian rhythm, or your natural sleeping and waking cycle.
Try to spend at least a half hour away from screens before you go to bed. Read a book, do some yoga, take a bath, or practice meditation. If you’re really serious about improving the quality of your sleep, make it a rule to keep all your electronics out of the bedroom entirely.
2. Breathe in some steam.
A steam shower is a great way to relax and unwind – and can definitely help promote healthier sleep patterns. While indulging in a steam session while you’re at the gym or a spa can provide you some important health benefits, to make the most out of a steam shower to encourage better sleep, you might want to consider installing a steam shower at home.
Alternatively, you can always take a hot bath and inhale the steam from the water while you relax. Heat therapy releases tension in your muscles and in your mind, making it easier to fall asleep and sleep soundly all through the night.
3. Check your diet.
The things you put in your body have a major impact on how your body functions. If you want to sleep better, you’ll need to eat better. By making a few changes to your diet, you can encourage healthier sleep habits and prevent the occurrence of insomnia.
Cut out things like grains, sugars, and vegetable oils, and incorporate more lean proteins, healthy fats, and foods that are high in antioxidants, like vegetables and green tea. You should also try to limit your intake of both caffeine and alcohol, as these both can have an impact on the quality of your sleep.
4. Get outside.
Taking some time to participate in an outdoor activity each day can make a big difference on your sleep. Not only does the sunlight help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm, but fresh air and exercise can also promote a better, more restful sleep.
This doesn’t have to be a major time commitment, even just twenty minutes out in the sun is enough to help you get a more quality sleep. You also don’t need to exert yourself too hard, simple movements and a little cardiovascular effort like walking or doing vinyasa yoga can get your heart rate up.
5. Find the right temperature.
Anyone who’s tried to sleep on a summer night with no air conditioning knows how much temperature can impact the quality of your rest. Studies have actually shown that the temperature of your bedroom can affect your sleep more than even loud noises.
Shoot for a bedroom temperature of around 70 degrees F or 20 degrees C, and adjust from there based on your own preferences. The wrong temperature can inhibit you from sleeping well and can actually increase the time you spend awake.
Hopefully, these suggestions will be enough to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. However, if you are still suffering from insomnia or symptoms of sleep deprivation, consider talking about the problem with your health care professional. There may be an underlying condition that could be contributing to your sleeplessness. In most cases, these ways to enhance the quality of your sleep will be all that you need.