What does it take to get a good night's sleep every single night? You are not born with bad sleep habits, they develop through your life. If you want to start sleeping better, you have to find ways to undo these bad habits and replace them with good ones.
Why Good Sleep Matters
There is more going on when you sleep than you might realize. Sleep gives your body time to restore and repair, which is critical in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Studies link poor sleep to everything from chronic disease to obesity. Sleep is essential in memory retention, as well. Carrington College points out that working late or studying all night actually makes it harder for you to succeed.
Your brain uses the downtime to form new learning pathways, too. This means sleep helps you develop new skills and improves your problem solving abilities.
What you do before you go to bed sets the stage for a good night's sleep. Business Insider reports that the most successful people develop a routine that prompts sleep. Use this time to exercise your mind and improve it.
- Read – Make reading the last thing you do. There is no limitation on what you read, just that you do, enjoy the latest book by your favorite author or find an autobiography to inspire you.
- Meditate – Just ten minutes of quiet time before (or after) you shut off the lights is enough to set the mood for effective sleep.
- Organize your thoughts – This can mean anything from reflecting on your day to creating a to-do list for the next one.
The point is to develop a pre-bed ritual. This helps turn your brain off, so you can sleep.
The Sleep Environment
Where you sleep is part of the formula, as well. Even the littlest things you do to change your bedroom can improve your sleep quality. Below are some makeover suggestions:
- Unclutter your room – Focus on areas around the bed. This reduces the dust that might affect your breathing and helps keep you organized, helping you find things easily once in bed like your favorite book or reading light.
- Change your color scheme – Pick calm, relaxing shades that lower your blood pressure and help you feel sleepy. Something cool like blue or grey is an ideal choice.
- Enhance your senses – Preparing for sleep should be a sensory experience. Things like potpourri and soft lighting have an impact. Lavender, for example, is a soothing smell. You can add a diffuser near the bed or just add a few drops of lavender oil on the light bulb closest to you.
Buy New Bedding
Along those same lines, it might be time to get new bedding. Consider everything from the color of your sheets, (go for something neutral) to material. Make sure your comforter is the right warmth level to keep you sleeping sound in any season and your pillow is the correct density for your preferred sleeping position.
Make Healthier Choices
How you live affects how you sleep. Making better lifestyle choices during the daytime will pay off at night. Getting regular exercise, for example, improves the quality of your sleep and helps relieve the stress that keeps you up. WebMD recommends you avoid things like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol if you are having problems sleeping, as well.
Finding the best sleep solution requires some work, but is worth it. Small changes like new habits or bedding may be all it takes for you to get better sleep in the New Year.