Quality Sleep – Why It’s Important and How to Achieve It

Tips for folks having trouble getting quality sleep

We often like to think of sleep as merely a function of our day-to-day life. The ‘period’ in the sentence of our day, perhaps. Just hop into the bed and hit restart – that simple, right?

But often, it’s not that easy.

According to the National Council on Aging, almost 30% of all adults have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. If you find yourself in this category, don’t worry – there are steps you can take to improve your sleep quality.

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s discuss why prioritizing sleep is so important. Good, replenishing sleep is as essential to our well-being as exercise and good diet. Without meaningful rest, we are more likely to have accidents, minor cognitive impairments, or even severe health issues such as heart disease or stroke. The brain needs to heal and cleanse itself of protein accumulations – which happens when we sleep.

Tips for Quality Sleep

If you find yourself struggling to relax at night, the National Sleep Foundation suggests several strategies that may help.

  • Having a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends, can help your body and mind get used to being ‘ready’ for bed. Conditioning yourself to get into the right headspace is only half the battle – you have to actually be in the bed and ready to go!
  • Before jumping into bed, get yourself into a routine that relaxes you. Whether that’s reading, listening to soft music, stretching, meditating, or taking a warm bath, it is up to you – just the repetition helps!
  • Cooler rooms help initiate sleep by triggering your body to respond to the drop in your body’s temperature. Keeping the thermostat between 60-67°F at night will trigger your body’s natural sleep response.
  • A dark, quiet environment with no distractions is the ideal setting for you to clear your mind and get good sleep. Earplugs, a white noise machine, or a fan can help smooth over the sudden small spikes in volume from neighbors or other household residents. Light blocking curtains or digital readout dimming can help with the rest!
  • If you smoke or drink alcohol, consider stopping around the time you have your last meal for the day – around two to three hours before trying to sleep – or skip them altogether. Despite being a depressant, alcohol can have the same disruptive effect on your sleep as caffeine!
  • Speaking of caffeine – try to avoid caffeine in the afternoons. While it only takes about 15 minutes to metabolize, caffeine has a half-life of about five hours – which means that you could be feeling that last afternoon pick-me-up way longer than you’d expect.

Incorporating these tips into your nighttime routine can go a long way in improving the quality of your rest. By making these simple lifestyle changes, you will be well on your way to enjoying the restful, rejuvenating sleep you deserve. Above all, don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep – it is essential to maintaining your overall health and quality of life!

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