Sleep is an incredibly important part of your daily routine, you spend almost a third of your time doing it. This is why it is vital to to get quality sleep and enough of it at the right times. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is just as essential to survival as food or water. Without getting the proper and necessary sleep you need, it can interrupt or not allow your brain to form or maintain pathways in your brain that are instrumental in learning and creating new memories. If the problem gets severe it will make it harder to concentrate and respond quickly.
Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can improve your sleep schedule and quality of sleep by making a few lifestyle changes. Simply exercising more and avoiding phone use before bed can do a lot to help with your sleep routine.
Your need for sleep will change as you age, but this varies from person-to-person. There is no exact amount of sleep that works for everybody of the same age. However, generally speaking, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. It should be noted that after the age of 60, sleep tends to become shorter, lighter, and more frequently interrupted. There is a number of ways that you can improve your sleep and wake up feeling more rejuvenated.
A few simple ways to improve your quality of sleep include:
Relax — While it is easy for you to lay in your bed and scroll through your newsfeed or stay up texting, it is best to find another activity that is more relaxing. For example, taking a bath, reading, or practicing breathing exercises can all help you relax before you go to bed. It can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep without interruption.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol — Substances like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can all impact sleep in a negative way. Caffeine and tobacco can make it hard to fall asleep as the body is still awake and lively. Meanwhile, alcohol use can impact the quality of sleep you feel and can lead to frequent interruptions in the sleep cycle. These substances can also lead to problems related to addiction that makes your overall health worse. Luckily there are resources online to help you learn how to stop drinking and smoking before bed or in general.
Set A Schedule — Setting a sleep schedule can help your sleep remain consistent. It will require you to go to bed and wake up at around the same time each day. This may seem easy, but it is important to stick to this schedule for it to work properly, this means on the weekends too.
Exercise — It may seem obvious but exercising, even just 20 or 30 minutes a day, can help tire your body out and make it easier to fall and stay asleep. There is evidence that has shown that exercise can be a great treatment for improving poor sleep.
Limit Technology Use — As mentioned before, technology like tablets and smartphones can impede someone’s ability to get a proper night’s sleep. Unfortunately, this is common practice among Americans, with 90 percent of people engaging with technology in the hour before bed. In the same study, using technology in the hour before bed was related to higher ratings of difficulties initiating sleep.
However you choose to change your habits, prioritizing healthy sleep will have a number of positive impacts on your physical and mental health. For example, sleep affects almost every tissue and system in the body, including the brain, heart, lungs, immune system, mood, and more. Research has shown that lack of sleep or poor quality sleep will increase the risk of problems like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and more.