As someone who has been challenged with adrenal fatigue, one of my biggest battles has been to get myself enough rest. I am a single mom of three teenagers so that means my days start early and often end late.
While most people consider a good night’s sleep a luxury, it’s actually very vital to our health, including emotionally and mentally.
Getting a good night’s sleep also helps our body’s metabolism and improves our insulin sensitivity. It also helps our appetite and helps us manage our stress. It cuts the risk of common colds and increases resilience to stress. Here are 10 Tips to a Better Night’s Sleep.
1. Make the room cold.
For most people, the ideal temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll have to experiment to find what feels best for you, but the first sign of favorable sleeping conditions is a chilly bed – think about how much you toss and turn on hot summer nights. If you shiver when getting underneath the sheets, this should be a good sign that the temperature will be favorable for staying asleep.
2. Make your room dark. Really dark.
Even a tiny amount of light can interfere with melatonin production and impair your sleep. If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel, you know how easy is to sleep in when the room has those thick, light-blocking curtains.
3. Control red and blue light.
Quick science lesson: Light waves exist along a spectrum of color. Wakefulness is triggered primarily by blue light, like midday sunshine or what’s emanating from your computer screen right now. A warm red glow, say, from a fireplace, does almost nothing to impair sleep. That’s a good thing.
4. Ditch the cell phone.
Radiation emitted from cell phones can increase the amount of time required to reach deep sleep cycles and decrease the amount of time spent in those cycles. A small 2007 study, found that radiation from cell phones could actually cause insomnia and interfere with deep sleep.
5. Make your room as quiet as possible.
White noise like a fan can help with sleep, but exposure to things like traffic noise has been shown to decrease overall sleep quality. It’s difficult to drift off to sleep when people are loud and blaring their horns outside your place.
6. Improve the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR).
A good way to improve your sleep quality is to strengthen the initial spike in wakefulness that occurs in the morning. In other words, the more awake you feel in the morning, the more tired you’ll feel in the evening.
The best way to do this is to expose your body to natural sunlight shortly after waking for as little as ten minutes. Sunlight brings the bonus of increased vitamin D production, which is important for overall health.
If natural sunlight exposure is unrealistic or you’re waking up before the sun rises, artificially simulated sunlight can work, too.
7. Set a schedule and stick to it.
This one requires some discipline, but it’s worth trying. Wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your body can’t establish an effective rhythm if you don’t allow it to normalize to a pattern.
If you stay up late, don’t sleep in. Instead, plan on going to bed a little earlier the next night.
Generally, the sleep you get before midnight will be more valuable than the sleep you get after midnight, so always think in terms of making up for lost sleep by going to bed early the next night rather than sleeping in.
8. Avoid intellectually stimulating fare and use this time for light reading.
It will reduce mental chatter and allow you to relax and let go of the day’s preoccupations.
9. Sleep on a good mattress.
A quality bed is one of the best investments you’ll ever make and it doesn’t have to be ludicrously expensive to work. Whatever you do, don’t put up with a lumpy mattress or an uncomfortable futon.
10. Establish a sleep ritual.
Once you find out what helps you sleep the most consistently, make it a consistent ritual so that as soon as you’re an hour away from bedtime you’re already on a reliable path to good sleep.
I am ready for bed just reading these! One of my worst habits is being on my phone or laptop writing (like I am now) before bed. I am definitely going to work on that one! What ones are you going to try? We definitely want to hear back! Here’s to sweet dreams a’ comin’!