Sleep quality is as important as sleep quantity. People who struggle to sleep well may resort to aids like sleeping pills, but Harvard Health doesn’t recommend it as the first response to sleeping troubles. While you don’t have to avoid medication that helps you sleep, if that’s the last resort, change your habits to see if it’ll make a difference.
For many people, the changes significantly help. Here are some easy things you can try for better sleep quality.
1. Set a Consistent Sleep Schedule
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, two internal biological mechanisms — circadian rhythm and homeostasis — collaborate harmoniously to govern your sleep-wake cycle. Circadian rhythms act as the conductors, orchestrating many functions, such as daily changes in alertness, body temperature, metabolism, and hormone release. Working hand in hand, these mechanisms help you experience periods of wakefulness and rest, helping your body maintain a healthy balance and optimal functioning.
If you don’t have predictable sleeping patterns, your body gets confused and struggles to help you find balance. That’s why you struggle to fall asleep when you get into bed and stay awake when you should be active. For better quality sleep, train your body to follow a regular sleep-wake cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your internal clock and improves sleep quality.
2. Prioritize Your Mattress and Bedding Quality
According to Healthline, the surface you sleep on promotes comfort, spinal alignment, and quality sleep. The converse is also true. If you wake up in the morning or after a daytime nap with aches and pain in your back, neck, or shoulders, change your mattress situation ASAP.
To choose the best mattress, the New York Times recommends using what you love and hate about your current mattress as a jumping-off point. If you think your current mattress is too firm and uncomfortable, replace it with one that’s medium density. Opting for a supportive mattress and pillow ensures your spine gets the proper alignment, preventing discomfort or pain. Plus, many well-established mattress stores give you a seven-day return period to test the mattress and determine if it’s the right fit.
3. Set Your AC Correctly
Did you know your AC can interfere with the quality of your sleep? According to Impact Air Solutions, the temperature setting of your AC when you’re sleeping determines your comfort level. Setting it too high or too low can lead to discomfort and disturb your sleep.
Finding the sweet spot where you feel right is vital to a restful slumber. This is important because nearly 90% of American homes use AC. Moreover, your AC’s airflow and consistency throughout the night is another factor. Set it at a steady and gentle airflow to create a soothing sleep environment that promotes relaxation and better sleep quality. On the other hand, if the AC constantly switches on and off or the airflow is too strong, your sleep will be distracted by abrupt changes in temperature or uncomfortable air drafts.
4. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
A few hours before bed, start to wind down intentionally. Don’t have alcohol, caffeine, or energy drinks. Instead, take a warm bath, dim the lights, put away your phone, and sit in bed with a book well before sleeping. This way, your mind associates your bed with rest.
Houzz reports that two in five homeowners use their bathroom instead of their bedrooms to relax. If you struggle to relax in your bedroom, figure out what’s in there that makes it unsettling and fix it. Paint less stimulating colors, take the TV out, and use blackout curtains.
To relax, consider trying CBN, short for cannabinol, which is a fascinating non-psychoactive compound derived from THC, one of the many cannabinoids present in hemp. According to WebMD, CBN doesn’t produce any mind-altering effects, making it a safe and non-intoxicating option as a sleep aid. CBN has mild soothing properties, which can induce relaxation and calmness.
Sleep is vital to your physical and mental well-being, yet it can sometimes feel like a distant dream to get enough quality shut-eye each night. Good sleep and rest are a huge part of self-care! Use these tips today.