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Boosting your quality of sleep
Many if us have trouble falling asleep and when we do fall asleep, we have problems staying asleep. We all know that we need a certain amount of sleep to make us feel healthy and fit, but we also need that sleep to be continuous and without interruptions.
Eight hours sleep broken up into 2 hour chunks is definitely not going to make us feel as good as 8 hours of continuous sleep. Sleeping well improves our focus and concentration, our memory, our overall health and even the way we look.
So whilst you might be getting enough sleep each night (the Mayo Clinic recommends 7 to 8 hours for adults) you might not be getting the quality of sleep that you require. Our bodies need a certain amount of rest, sp if you are tossing and turning all night long or being woken by a barking dog or noisy neighbors, then your life will suffer.
So let’s look at 6 tips to help you improve the quantity and the quality of your sleep.
1. Make sure your room is dark
Sleeping in a room that is bright is one of the biggest problems for shift workers. Any light in your environment can keep you awake and prevent you from having a good rest.
It is therefore important to make sure that the room you are sleeping in is dark and that you have blocked out as much of the daylight as possible.
Research has shown that exposure to light before you go to bed actually suppresses the production of melatonin, which controls your sleep cycles. When you don’t have enough of this hormone in your bloodstream, your sleep is patchy and unfulfilling.
So it is important to block out as much light as possible, when you are trying to sleep during the day.
2. Make sure that your room is not too hot
Also, don’t forget that you need a cool room, as if you are too hot this can also disrupt your sleep and cause you to wake frequently.
This might mean ensuring that you have a light breeze flowing through your home, that you purchase lighter bed linen or that you switch a fan or even an A/C on when you are trying to sleep. If you cannot sleep because you are too hot, not much will fix the problem except cooling you down.
3. Avoid caffeine during the evening
We have all heard that we should avoid coffee and other forms of caffeine before we go to bed and research has substantiated these claims. One recent study has found that when you drink coffee in the evening, on average you loose 2 hours sleep at night, and you wake twice as often during the night as well.
The effects of caffeine can take hours to wear off, so it is suggested that you avoid caffeine containing drinks or food items at any time during the evening, to give yourself a better chance of sleeping well. This can be even more important for shift workers who need to sleep during the day – to avoid coffee at least 4 to 6 hours before their bed time.
4. Make sure your bed is comfortable
A comfortable bed cannot be understated. When your bed is uncomfortable and difficult to sleep in, then you will keep waking up just to move to a better position. If you have a bad back, then you will recognize the importance of having a good mattress on your bed. So if your mattress is more than 10 years old and you have trouble sleeping at night, it might be a good idea to replace your mattress with a new one.
5. Relax and unwind before going to bed
When you are stressed and anxious, your sleep usually suffers. It is easy to say that you should relax before going to bed, but it is not always easy to do this. One thing you can try is a warm shower of a nice long, soak in the tub before you go to bed. You can also try using essential oils, either as drops in your bath water or in an aromatherapy diffuser and let the relaxing scents lull you to sleep.
6. Use a sleep sound machine for quality sleep
Another option is to use a sound machine, because these will help you to relax when you go to bed. They also help to block out noises which would otherwise keep you awake or wake you up from a deep sleep.
So if you thing that your partner snoring is keeping you awake or the noisy neighbors, traffic or barking dogs are a problem, then it is worth purchasing a sound machine and getting a good night’s sleep for once.