Getting a good night’s sleep is just as much a part of maintaining good health as diet and exercise are. Sleep even has a profound effect on your moods and mental and emotional health, which can have a profound effect on your relationships. But great sleep doesn’t just “happen” – like any other healthy practice, it involves discipline and concerted effort. Here are four key practices to help you get a good night’s sleep.
1. Go to bed and get up at the same time every morning
Melatonin is a naturally occurring sleep hormone that helps regulate wake and sleep cycles and cortisol is a hormone your body releases in the morning to help you walk up. If you go to bed at 10pm every night, then around 9pm, your body will release a dose of melatonin to help you start feeling drowsy. If you get up at 6am every morning, then at about 5am your body will release some cortisol. When you go to bed and wake up at a different time every day, you block your body from helping you sleep.
2. Get some sun every day
Your body doesn’t know how to set itself to a clock, it sets itself to the sun. If you’ve ever noticed that you sleep less in the summer than the winter, it’s because daylight hours are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter. Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day outdoors. Not only will this help your body stay in synch with the sun, but it will give you a nice dose of Vitamin D in the process!
3. Create the right conditions
Research shows that people sleep best in a cool, dark, quiet room. If you have bright lights outside your window try blackout shades. If your room is warm, try using a fan or cracking the windows a bit during cooler months. Remember, the room should be cool not your bed, so if you crack the windows, pile on the blankets!
4. Find the right mattress
A mattress can have a profound effect on your sleep. Some people prefer a more firm matters, others like a soft mattress, but check out some different mattresses at companies like Restwell Mattress Factory to see which mattress is right for you. You might even do some testing by asking a few friends with guest rooms if you can try them out for the night. If you get a better night’s sleep in one house than the others it might be the mattress.
Good, healthy sleeping habits are a vital part of good health and can even extend your life by several years. There is a great deal of research pointing to sleep being every bit as important as diet and exercise for good weight maintenance as well. Regardless of which benefit of good sleep is most important to you, good sleep can have a profoundly positive impact on all aspects of your life.