Good sleep is critical to our wellbeing. Without it, our bodies aren’t prepared for the rigors of daily life. It’s as necessary as breathing and eating, yet 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep-related problems each night. If you include yourself in these statistics, you may benefit from one of these sleep health solutions to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Establish good sleep hygiene
While this term might be unfamiliar to you, sleep hygiene refers to your pre-bedtime routine. It’s what you do to prepare yourself for sleep. As a sleep health solution, it’s one of the first places to start improving your sleep. Creating a consistent bedtime routine establishes a pattern that better enables you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Your routine might include turning off electronics an hour before bed, taking a bath, reading a book, or meditating. This routine sends a signal to your body that sleep is imminent and helps your body relax.
Design your environment
As an additional part of good sleep hygiene, the room in which you sleep is equally important. Keeping the room dark, the temperature cool, and the space quiet supports a better night’s sleep. It’s a sleep health solution with proven results. A dark room supports a healthy circadian rhythm and a room set to 65 degrees is ideal for most adults. A white noise machine or fan can help drown out any noise that prevents you from sleeping soundly. Designing your environment might also include infusing your bedroom with essential oils that help with sleep.
Improve your bedding
A mattress that is too firm or soft, an unsupportive pillow, or sheets that trap heat can sabotage your sleep. Swapping out this bedding is a sleep health solution that can make a big difference in how well you sleep each night. Find a sleep specialist who can provide helpful mattress assistance and experiment with a mattress and/or pillow that offers a trial period. Choose cotton sheets that allow your body to breathe. One-third of your life is spent in bed, so bedding is an important investment that will support the other two-thirds of your life.
Consistency matters. Your body isn’t able to “catch up” on sleep the way many of us would like. Shorting yourself on the weekdays and then sleeping until noon on Saturday won’t compensate for the lack of sleep the other nights. For a better sleep health solution, aim for 7 hours of sleep each night and stick with the routine every day of the week. As much as possible, go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time. Your body will naturally begin to feel tired at your scheduled bedtime and wake without an alarm as it settles into this routine, which supports better health.
For additional sleep health solutions, check out this list by the Sleep Foundation. If you need additional assistance, consult your health care provider to help diagnose and treat more serious medical conditions like chronic insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders.