The quality of your sleep affects how you’ll feel during waking hours. Some people need more sleep, while others need less. But it isn’t just how much you get that’s important, it’s also how well you sleep.
What can disturb your sleep?
Anyone who went through a long day without enough sleep can tell you that getting decent shut-eye is a precious gift. Here are a few things that can disturb your rest:
Noise Too much noise can keep anyone from getting a good night’s rest. Sounds like music, passing cars or neighbors can keep you up all night or wake you up at 3 in the morning. Although ambient music can help you relax and rest more easily, sudden loud sounds or noise can keep you from getting enough deep sleep to make you feel fully rested for the next day.
Snoring Snoring is caused when the airway is obstructed while sleeping, leading to the ruckus we often hear from our bedmate. Although it may seem like a small annoyance, snoring is actually bad for your health, and can disrupt your slumber by causing long interruptions of breathing, low oxygen levels in the blood, and constant light sleep. Aside from this, you usually snore when you breathe through the mouth, and doing so often makes you snore even louder. Not only is it noisy, but it can dry your throat and lead to a sore throat the next day.
Emotions Trying to sleep while experiencing strong emotions can affect how well you rest at night. You can find it hard to get to bed when you’re excited, sad, angry or happy. Making sure you have a quiet mind can have a direct effect on having a quiet, restful night’s sleep. Your body reacts to your emotions, so being angry or excited in bed can keep your heart pounding, even though you want to rest. Although you may forget your feelings the next morning, your body might still be reeling from its effects, causing you to feel groggy and irritable.
So how can we improve our sleep? Despite all the things that can interrupt your sleep, there are some easy ways for you to help your body get the rest it needs so you can live better during the day. Here are some things that you can do right before going to bed:
Create a Ritual – Creating a night time ritual before hitting the hay is a great way to train your body to learn when it’s time to sleep. Your ritual can involve anything, as long as it isn’t a high-intensity activity. Reading, listening to calm music, or meditating are good options. Avoid exercising, watching TV or doing stretches, because they can increase your heart rate and keep your mind buzzing when you should be slowing down. Also, be careful of using your smartphone in bed, because it can keep you up for much longer than you intended.
Take a Warm Bath – After a tiring day, many people find comfort in taking a long shower. But if you’ve got a bathtub, a warm bath is great way to help wind down. Not only is it a nice, cleansing mini-retreat, but the warmth of the water can help move your body to a state that’s good for resting. If you don’t like taking baths in the evening, or you only have a shower, having a warm drink like milk or decaf tea an hour before getting into bed can have the same effect.
Clear Your Mind – At the end of a busy day, you might find yourself lying in bed, recapping the day and thinking about what you could have done, said or chosen differently. These thoughts, though helpful and insightful at times, can keep you up way past your bedtime. If you want to rest well, try clearing your mind of these thoughts before going to bed, or setting aside a specific time to think about these things by writing in a journal.
Use Your Bed For Sleeping Only Our beds are often conveniently empty when we get home, and our first instinct is to drop all our things onto it after a long day. Because of this, our bed becomes more than just a place to sleep; it’s where we work, watch TV, and other things. When you use your bed for more than just sleeping, your body learns to stay awake even when you’re tucked in for the night. Aside from this, doing activities while in bed can keep you from being able to settle down for the evening, making it even harder to get some shut eye. Reserve your bed for sleeping only and you’ll find it easier to relax and nod off.
Sleep is the only time that our bodies have to recharge and repair from the wear and tear of the day. If you want to feel better when you wake up, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and that you’re giving yourself the best quality rest that you can.