Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, lack of sleep is still the number one complaint we hear on the street, at work, at home, or in restaurants and bars. Everyone is tired all the time – there’s no surprise there – and despite how unique we may feel in our tiredness levels, we all suffer from this.
For something that we spend one third of our life doing, we sure do tend to neglect its importance. There are a number of things we can all do to ensure that we get a good night’s sleep – good as in not just quantity but quality too. A lack of sleep can be the root of many problems; such as anxiety, stress, depression, high blood pressure, a low immune system, and many other chronic health conditions. With this in mind, is there any reason not to spend more time focusing on your sleep?
The phrase “beauty sleep” surely rings a bell with most of us. A recent study has proven that the concept of beauty sleep is in fact true. When shown a group of participants’ photos of them with and without sleep, a group of strangers deemed the pictures with more sleep not only more attractive but they also said they would be more likely to spend time with them.
With not only your health at risk, but your appearance and social situations too, it’s time to reassess your sleeping situation. We’ve come up with some fail-safe ways to dramatically improve your quality of sleep:
Improve your sleeping conditions
Making sure you have a comfortable sleeping environment is the first thing you should take care of. You’d be surprised the difference a proper mattress can make to both your body and mind during sleeping hours. Despite what the reviews may say, testing it yourself is always best; some companies even offer a trial period, allowing you to try out the mattress for a month or so.
Other important things to bear in mind are your duvet, pillows and your bedroom layout. If you work from home, ensure that you have a clear division between your sleeping area and your working area; merging the two can at times have a negative impact on your sleep. Having the ideal bedroom setup can really help your mind unwind ahead of a good night’s sleep. Comfort, relaxation and peace are the three elements you need to incorporate into your bedroom.
In recent years, the importance of meditation in all parts of life has really come to light. What’s important to remember here, is that although meditation is not directly linked to improved sleep, it certainly has an invaluable knock-on effect. A few minutes of meditation a couple of days a week will go a long way: improve mood and mental health, reduce stress and/or anxiety, increased self-awareness.
When you practice meditation, you assign your mind some time to deal specifically with the worries that normally end up creeping into your head when you’re trying to sleep. Consider joining a local class or follow a guided meditation online. Remember, you can gain value from meditation with simply ten minute sessions 3-5 times a week.
By switching off your tech devices during sleep, you’re doing yourself a big favor. If you cannot afford to switch off, or if it will create more anxiety than relaxation, make sure all flashing lights are off or concealed, turn off the volume, and place your phone face down at least a meter away from you. Melatonin is a naturally occurring, sleep-inducing hormone that is produced in the dark – therefore making it important to block out all light during your sleeping hours.
Even just a flashing charging light can disturb your sleep pattern, depending on how sensitive you are. In case you really struggle with any and all distance between yourself and your phone, there are many apps such as f.lux that will adjust your device’s screen in accordance to your bedtime. Your eight hours of sleep is your only tech-free time, so take full advantage of it and enjoy.
Exercise and eat healthy
Another sure way to catch more z’s is by leading an overall healthier lifestyle. Try to first improve your diet. There are certain foods and guidelines you can integrate into your diet such as: eat more vegetables, fruit and grains, and cut back on red meat, fatty foods and dairy. To accompany your new and improved diet, start exercising.
The more energy you exert each day, especially physically, the more tired you will be later. Exercise is also known to boost energy and is deemed by many as a great cure for exhaustion. Next time you’re feeling wiped out, try a workout session instead of a nap and see if you feel the difference.