Sleep is essential yet almost a third of American adults are chronically sleep deprived. Sleep allows your body to restore brain energy and tissue, improve your memory, productivity, sensitivity to pain and immune function, and more. Yet, sleep is often one of the first things sacrificed when we get busy, despite the serious repercussions this has on both our physical and mental health.
New research shows that those who sleep less are more likely to weigh more. When you’re tired, it becomes harder to fend off cravings for foods high in fat and sugar. Obesity increases your risk for both heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, sleep deprivation increases your stress hormone cortisol, which can also impede weight loss efforts.
Now that you’re fully informed on all the reasons why you need to get a great night’s sleep, check out these helpful tips.
1. Ditch Tech 30-minutes Before You Sleep
Thinking of watching that new Netflix original right up until bedtime? Think again–the blue light given off by LED screens inhibits our natural production of melatonin by eighty-five percent. Melatonin is a hormone that helps us sleep by alerting the brain that it’s time to go to bed.
While the iPhone’s new “night shift” mode helps by turning off blue light, not everyone has an iPhone. And it’s not a good idea to get into the habit of diving into bed after staring at your phone, or laptop, for hours on end.
2. Use The Sleep Time App
It’s a good idea to ditch tech before bed but there are apps available which can improve your sleep quality. Enter Sleep Time, an app which provides insight into your sleep patterns and learns to wake you up when you’re at your lightest sleep phase. This allows you to awaken feeling refreshed and ready for the day. If your alarm goes off during a period of deep sleep, it can take over an hour to feel fully awake.
Click here to download the Sleep Time app.
3. Set Your Thermostat to 65 Degrees
There’s a reason you toss and turn all night when you’re feeling too hot–temperature does matter when it comes down to the quality of your sleep. The ideal temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees fahrenheit and even lower for those who like to snuggle under the covers.
There are a few other things to remember in addition to lowering your thermostat. As you sleep, your body produces heat which can interrupt your sleep. Be sure to use sheets and pillowcases made of material that allows heat to escape.
4. Use a Relaxing Pillow Mist Spray
Pillow mist sprays are the latest sleep aid trend to hit the market. Not only do they smell nice, they can influence our ability to sleep better. Using a scented pillow spray can cue both your body and brain to sleep when associating this process with a specific smell.
Certain aromas have also been shown to promote the production of melatonin. Lavender has long been used to promote sleep and there are various studies to back this up. Another popular aroma backed by science is chamomile–numerous health benefits such as easing anxiety and treating insomnia are associated with chamomile. Look for a pillow mist spray with at least one of these aromas and spray on your pillow before bed for a relaxing night’s sleep.
5. Practice Gentle Yoga
Yoga is beneficial for a whole host of reasons, with sleep being one of them. Most people who practice yoga describe a sense of relaxation–studies have shown that yoga can help reduce cortisol levels which reduces stress levels. Get into the habit of practicing gentle yoga at night before bed.
If any of these tips result in a great night’s sleep, share this article with your community on social media, and spread the sleep wealth.
Alice is a freelance writer with an emphasis on wellness, business and tech. She has an MA in Communication Studies and enjoys writing articles that genuinely help, and empower, readers. In her free time, you can find her hiking or absorbed in the world of a good book. Follow her on Twitter.
Main Photo Credit: Stock-Asso/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Minerva Studio/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Olivier Le Moal/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: fizkes/shutterstock.com