Getting less than eight hours sleep a night increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Scary isn’t it?
But nearly 20% of American adults admit that they use sleep medication to help them get a good night’s rest.
That’s a lot of people struggling to sleep well at night.
Perhaps this sounds familiar to you? Maybe you’re used to lying awake in the dark unable to ‘switch off’?
We get it. Your lives are crazy busy.
But wouldn’t you like to get a decent night’s sleep and all the health benefits that come with it?
Well luckily for you we’ve put together our top tips on improving your sleep efficiency. Read on to find out how to get good sleep each and every night!
Sort Out Your Circadian Rhythm
Your Circadian Rhythm is like your biological clock. It works on a daily cycle.
Your physical, mental and behavioral changes all follow this rhythm. So if it gets out of step then it will affect your sleep.
The things you do on a daily basis will affect your Circadian Rhythm. To help your sleeping keep your daily habits regular.
Try to limit your nap time during the day. Napping for longer than 30 minutes at a time throws your body’s clock out. Napping irregularly can also affect this.
And keep your sleeping patterns regular. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day.
This might be difficult at first. Especially if you are suffering from insomnia.
Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day is great for your Circadian Rhythm. It helps your body recognize what it needs to do and when.
What Other Daily Habits Improve Sleep Efficiency?
It’s amazing what simple daily habits can do to help you have a great night’s sleep.
A lot of them have to do with your body’s melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s daily cycles.
Your body produces more melatonin at night when it is dark. Light reduces melatonin production. This tells your body it is time to wake up.
Reduced melatonin levels might mean your body is uncertain of when it is time to sleep and wake. It can’t tell the difference between day and night easily.
Certain daily habits will help your body to maintain healthy levels of melatonin.
Increasing your exposure to bright light during the day will help this. It helps the body know that it is day time.
So make sure you spend enough time outdoors. If you live in an area with fewer daylight hours consider buying some bright light bulbs.
In one study, bright light exposure decreased the time taken to go to sleep by 83% in people with insomnia!
Exercise regularly. This has proven to improve sleep quality and reduce the symptoms of insomnia. Just don’t do it right before you go to bed!
Cut out alcohol – at least in large amounts.
Alcohol reduces the amount of melatonin that your body produces at night. This makes it harder for your body to know when to wake and sleep.
As a result, it often leads to a disturbed night’s sleep. It might make you feel sleepy but it won’t help you have a peaceful sleep.
You might also try melatonin supplements. Magnesium and glycine may help. But make sure to only take one supplement at a time.
But your environment can affect your sleep as much as your behavior. So make the most of it.
Optimize Your Bedroom Environment
We all know that a more relaxing environment helps us to sleep. But what specific things make an environment more relaxing?
Sight and sound are big factors. Reducing noise and light in a bedroom help sleeping.
In one study 50% of women found reduced noise and light in their bedroom improved their sleep quality.
So think about removing any digital clocks. This also means you can’t watch the clock if you’re struggling to sleep. That will never relax you.
If silence isn’t your thing, then try slow soothing music. A rhythm of 60 to 80 beats per minute is most helpful for getting you to sleep.
And the other senses can also help as well.
The scent of lavender often induces deep sleep. It increases slow-wave sleep. This helps to slow your heartbeat and relax your muscles.
Keeping your bedroom at a regulated temperature is also key.
We’ve all spent a night tossing and turning in a roasting room, right? Or shivering under the sheets?
No one wants that. The optimum temperature for sleep is around 70°F.
But let’s not forget the most important part of your bedroom environment. The bed itself!
Your pillow, bed, and mattress can all affect your sleep quality. Sounds obvious right?
Well did you know that you should replace your mattress every five years?
If you’ve been sleeping on the same old mattress for years maybe it’s time to replace it. An option like the Mattress Foundation Queen could be perfect for you!
How Does Your Bedtime Routine Help Sleeping?
This should be obvious really.
The things you do before bed prepare your body for sleep. Or they don’t.
So pay close attention to what you’re doing in the evening. It might surprise you how early you have to start getting ready for bed!
90% of people in the US consume caffeine. That’s probably no surprise. We get it – caffeine’s great.
But not for your sleeping. That’s a no-brainer.
But did you know that consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed can worsen your sleep? So if you go to bed at ten, that’s no caffeine after four.
It might feel a long way off, but caffeine stays in your system for a long time.
In fact, avoid drinking lots of liquids 1 or 2 hours before bedtime. Nocturia, or excessive night-time urination, is sure to disturb your sleep.
And turn off those phones. Blue light stimulates your brain rather than relaxing it. Try to give your brain some time to switch off before you get into bed.
So what should you do before bed?
Focus on relaxing your body. Activities like showering, bathing or mediation all calm your body and your mind.
If you’re lucky enough to have someone around to do it, a bedtime massage can’t hurt!
And last but not least, try wearing socks in bed.
This trick might not seem comfy. But having warm feet helps to promote sleep so give it a go!
The Bottom Line
What you do in the day and at night effects your sleep efficiency. So sorting out your daily habits will help this no end.
And getting a good night’s sleep benefits your long-term health. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?
So use our helpful tips and you’re sure to find yourself sleeping peacefully.