4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep and Feel More Rested
High quality sleep is essential for everything from alertness and mental focus to basic health functions. Despite this incredible importance, one in every three American adults doesn’t get enough sleep.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 30 percent of American adults fail to get a full seven hours of more of sleep every 24 hours. The most sleep deprived state of all, Hawaii, has a health sleep duration rate of only 56 percent.
Sleep, it seems, isn’t as easy to come by as you’d think. From job-related stress to the heart and respiratory system issues, anxiety, challenging schedules and more, a variety of factors can contribute to lack of sleep.
As an Orange County mattress supplier, we’re used to helping people get a better and more refreshing night’s sleep.
Below, we’ve shared four simple but effective sleep improvement techniques that we’ve seen work for others. From changing your routine to changing your mattress, these techniques are often all it takes to transform your sleep habits from unhealthy to ideal for optimal sleep.
Switch out most lights 30 minutes before bed
Did you know that the bright light from your home or apartment’s artificial lighting can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, preventing you from feeling tired?
Interestingly, this is completely true. Scientific data shows that artificial light prevents the release of melatonin — a hormone produced in the pineal gland that’s important for allowing your brain and body to regulate your energy levels and make you feel tired.
For an easier time falling asleep, try switching off most of your home’s artificial lighting about 30 minutes before you go to bed. This way, your body will release melatonin on a normal schedule, without any artificial delays or light-related suppression.
Do the same with your phone, laptop, and tablet
Likewise, the light from your phone, tablet, and laptop can disrupt your body’s ability to produce and release melatonin, causing a similar alertness effect that can occur when you switch all of the lights on.
Beyond the light-related effects of digital devices, using your smartphone or computer shortly before bed can cause brain stimulation and deep concentration that makes it more difficult to relax, unwind and drift off to sleep.
One way to implement this technique easily is to set an alarm on your phone for 30 minutes before your normal bedtime, then switch off your electronic devices and artificial lighting for a quiet, distraction-free home.
Avoid caffeine after noon
Most people know not to drink caffeinated beverages in the evening, but far fewer people are aware of the negative effects caffeine can have on your sleep quality if it’s consumed earlier in the day.
Caffeine has a half life of 5.7 hours, which means it’s half as active in your blood 5.7 hours after you consume as it is at peak concentration. This means that 200mg of caffeine consumed over lunch at 1 pm still leaves trace amounts in your bloodstream when it’s time for bed.
For the best sleep quality, avoid consuming any beverages that with 50mg of caffeine or more after midday. This way, you’ll go to bed without an active service of caffeine circulating around your body and keeping you awake.
Choose a mattress that you like
The conventional wisdom about mattresses and sleep quality — that “medium-hard is best” — isn’t quite right. Instead, experts generally agree that the best mattress is one that leaves you feeling comfortable and rested in the morning while limiting movement during sleep.
When you test an Orange County mattress in the store, try laying down on them for five to 10 minutes before choosing your favorite. This way, you’ll get a more accurate assessment of how the mattress really feels as you lay down, relax and try to drift off to sleep.
Time-consuming? A little, but it’s worth it — after all, your mattress is an investment on which you’ll spend eight hours a day for the next decade.