A good night's sleep can have many mental and physical benefits. It can sharpen your mind, help your memory and improve your mood, among other things. However, a restful night's sleep is not easy for many people. There are many reasons your sleep may be impacted, from environment factors like air temperature to mental factors such as stress and depression.
However, there are ways to improve the amount and quality of your sleep; even the littlest of changes can make a big difference. Use these tips to promote a restful night's sleep so you can be your best self every day.
Many people overlook one major factor of good sleep: comfort. Comfort is an important element when considering why you may not be getting the sleep you want and need.
An uncomfortable mattress is an often overlooked element. The truth is, not all mattresses are created equal. If you find yourself having back problems or trouble getting comfortable during the night, it may be time for a new mattress. It's important to remember a good mattress doesn't have to break the bank. Try the Mint Mattress or other mattress designed for comfort and good-quality sleep.
Other comfort elements to consider are blankets and pillows. Are you sleeping with too little or too many pillows? Are your blankets appropriate for the temperature, or are they too light or too heavy?
The quality of sleep you're getting can be heavily impacted if you're tossing and turning all night because you can't get comfortable, so be sure not to overlook smaller elements during bedtime that may be making it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Eat the Right Foods
Your diet can impact everything from your mood to your focus to the quality of sleep you're getting. Making sure you're eating the right foods can help you improve your quality of sleep as well as boosting your energy throughout the day, which will in turn help you sleep better at night.
If you have trouble sleeping, try focusing on whole foods. Studies show the added chemicals in processed foods may alter chemicals in your brain and affect your body in negative ways. Focus on the main macronutrients of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates to keep your body healthy and happy. In addition, limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink, especially at night.
In fact, try to stop eating a few hours before bed if you can help it, as eating right before bed can make it harder to fall asleep. If you find yourself more hungry at night, try eating a nutrient-rich and filling breakfast, lunch and dinner. This can help you limit snacking and cravings later at night. If you do find yourself needing a midnight snack, stay away from overly rich or sugary foods.
Be Active During the Day
In addition to eating right, moving more and staying active throughout the day may help you sleep better at night, too. Exercise not only physically wears your body out and may help you feel more tired and ready for sleep at night, but also helps your mental health and decreases stress, which may be a factor in sleepless nights as well.
Although intense exercise such as high-intensity interval training or running has its benefits, you don't need to start doing triathlons to get moving. Simply getting more steps in throughout the day can help. Try going for an evening walk or parking at the far end of the parking lot when you go to the grocery store to help increase your step count.
If you're looking to increase your daily movement, consider using a simple pedometer to track your steps and keep yourself accountable.
Limit Stress and Promote Relaxation
If you have a high-stress life, you may find it hard to fall asleep at night due to leftover stress from your day. To combat this, try to limit stress throughout your day as well as implementing a relaxation routine when you get home.
Try taking up meditation or listening to relaxing music in order to ease your mind before bed. Although relaxing looks different for everyone, there are many relaxation tips you can use to start to unwind and help you sleep better.
Establish a Routine
Establishing a bedtime routine is beneficial for a multitude of reasons, but one of the most important ones is that it lets your body know when it's time to begin to unwind. In fact, an established bedtime routine will signal your brain to start producing melatonin, which is your body's natural sleep aid. You should try to begin your routine an hour or so before you intend to get to bed. Your routine could be as simple as brushing your teeth and washing your face, but it doesn't have to be.
A warm shower, a hot cup of tea or settling in and reading a few chapters of a book may all be part of your bedtime routine. Whatever you choose, be sure it's relaxing and doesn't create any added stress or use a lot of energy, as the purpose is to wind down and let your body know it's time to start preparing for sleep.
Try Natural Sleep Aids
Your body produces a natural sleep hormone called melatonin. If you're having trouble falling asleep, you can buy melatonin over the counter in pill, tablet or gummy form. Other natural sleep aids may contain ingredients such as lavender, chamomile or magnesium. These ingredients all help your body to relax and fall asleep faster, as well as stay asleep.
Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new medications.
Take Care of Any Underlying Health Issues
If you're having significant sleep problems, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Certain health issues may also cause poor-quality sleep, such as restless leg syndrome. It's important to address any underlying health conditions in order to keep your body healthy.
If you've exhausted natural sleep remedies, talk to your doctor to see if there may be something more going on. They may recommend a sleep study or prescribe a prescription sleep medication.
Getting good-quality sleep can benefit all areas of your life and is important to your physical and mental wellbeing. Not getting enough sleep or not getting restful sleep can be detrimental to your body and mind overtime, so be sure to prioritize your sleep in order to benefit your overall health.
Restless Leg Syndrome is a common condition that can vary in levels of severity. Moderate to severe RLS can have detrimental effects on health and often causes insomnia. A variety of natural methods can help with the management of RLS, especially weighted blankets.
The science of Deep Touch Pressure makes weighted blankets an excellent option for treating the muscle and nerve discomfort caused by RLS, as well as insomnia.
To learn more about Restless Legs Syndrome and how weighted blankets are beneficial, visit https://www.weightedblanketguides.com/benefits-restless-leg-syndrome/ and here is a useful fact sheet.
If you believe that you may be suffering from restless leg syndrome, discuss your symptoms with your primary care provider or contact a sleep clinic for a sleep study. At The Alaska Sleep Clinic, we help diagnose and treat hundreds of Alaskans every year with sleep disorders.
Regular, quality sleep is one of the most important aspects of leading a healthy and happy life. Having an untreated sleep disorder such as restless leg syndrome can not only hamper the quality of your daily life, it can lead to severe health conditions and even accidents from drowsiness if left untreated.
If you live in Alaska and want to get a free sleep assessment from one of our sleep educators, click the link below and get on your way to sleeping restfully through the night.