There’s simply no denying it: Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and wellness. Quality sleep is linked to lowered risk of heart disease and diabetes, better mental health and even higher life expectancy. There is no fountain of youth, but a solid sleep schedule is the closest thing we’ve got.
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Sleep for better health. Seems easy, right? Unfortunately, attaining consistently good sleep is easier said than done. A poor sleep environment, stress and mental health concerns can keep you from restful sleep, and these things are unfortunately the norm for many of us. But there are still some things you can do to boost sleep and take full advantage of every single minute of rest.
- Try a weighted blanket. Did you know that weighted blankets can help calm a restless body, reduce feelings of anxiety and boost sleep quality? Yep, studies show that they’re even effective at helping reduce anxiety in adults hospitalized with mental health emergencies. Give it a try if you’re looking for a comfy sleep upgrade that could boost your mental wellness too.
- Install blackout curtains. If you’ve ever slept in a hotel room with the curtains drawn, you already know how powerful this tip can be. Even a tiny bit of light exposure during sleep can increase heart rate, which not only affects your ability to sleep but also impacts your cardiovascular health as a whole. Invest in some blackout curtains or blinds ASAP.
- Ditch your smartphone. Studies show that the blue light that emits from your screen at night prevents the body from effectively producing melatonin, a hormone that tells your body when to hit the hay. Try putting away the phone an hour or two before bedtime for the best results. The same goes for laptop and TV screens!
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- Revamp your bedding. Bedding is such an underestimated contributor to quality sleep. The wrong bedding can leave you hot, sweaty and uncomfortable, even in the winter. Try sustainable bamboo sheets that keep you cool and comfortable no matter the temperature.
- Try an adjustable bed. Did you know that sleeping in an adjustable bed can help address back pain, eliminate pressure points and even help reduce acid reflux? Many people don’t realize how affordable adjustable beds really are, so definitely consider this as an option.
- Consider sleep supplements. Although more research is needed, many people find that taking certain natural supplements — such as melatonin, valerian root, lavender and CBD — can help users fall asleep and stay asleep for longer. Make sure to carefully read dosing instructions and check with your doctor before trying any new supplements, especially if you have pre-existing health concerns.
- Seek therapy and de-stress. Stress is one of the most common inhibitors of good sleep, which is why it’s worth your while to combat it in any way you can. Whether that means making a big life change, seeking mental health counseling or booking a spa day, anything you can do to get your heart rate and cortisol levels down will help you get quality sleep.
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- Follow a routine. Your body, by its very nature, thrives on routine. Try your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night, even on the weekends and when you’re on vacation. This will encourage you to get your full recommended daily amount of sleep, and it doesn’t require you to change anything about your physical environment.
- Pay attention to the temperature. Experts say that the ideal temperature for quality rest is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your environment falls into that range by using temperature regulating curtains and fans.
Better Sleep Equals Better Health and Vice Versa
In addition to following the tips above, you should make sure you’re following a healthy diet, getting enough exercise and cutting out stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine before bedtime. Ultimately, better sleep begets better health, and better health begets better sleep, so anything you can do to support these two endeavors will put you on the fast track to longevity.