What can you do to get a good night’s sleep?
Getting the right amount and good quality sleep is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. Sleep plays a critical role in many bodily functions, including brain function, immune system function, and repair and maintenance of organs. Poor sleep quality can lead to a range of health problems, including obesity, depression and impaired cognitive function. In contrast, getting enough high-quality sleep can improve memory, boost mood, and reduce the risk of developing many chronic health conditions.
To mark World Sleep Day, we’ve attempted to answer some common questions about getting a good night’s sleep!
How much sleep do I need?
The amount of sleep an individual needs varies depending on their age, lifestyle, and individual needs. Generally, The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for young adults (18-25 years) and adults (26-64 years), and 7-8 hours for older adults (65+ years).
However, it’s important to note that some individuals may require more or less sleep than these guidelines suggest. It’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments to your sleep habits as needed to ensure you’re getting enough restful sleep to feel refreshed and alert during the day.
Why can’t I sleep?
There are many potential reasons why you might be having trouble sleeping. Here are some common factors that can contribute to difficulty falling or staying asleep:
- Stress and anxiety: Stressful life events, anxiety, and worries about work, relationships, or other aspects of life can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Poor sleep habits: Not sticking to a regular sleep schedule, consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime, or engaging in stimulating activities before bed can all disrupt your sleep.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and mental health disorders, can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants or stimulants, can interfere with sleep.
- Environmental factors: A noisy or uncomfortable sleep environment, such as a bright room or a bed that’s too soft or too hard, can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
If you’re having persistent difficulty sleeping, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
What can I do to improve my sleep?
There are several things you can do to improve your sleep:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Establish a calming routine before bed, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
- Make your sleep environment comfortable: Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Use comfortable pillows and a supportive mattress.
- Limit daytime naps: If you take naps during the day, limit them to 20-30 minutes.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime, as both can disrupt your sleep.
- Avoid stimulating activities before bed: Avoid engaging in stimulating activities like working or watching TV right before bed, as these can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve sleep quality but avoid exercising close to bedtime.
- Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can interfere with sleep. Practice stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to help reduce stress.
- Consider seeking medical help: If you’re having persistent difficulty sleeping, speak with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions and determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs.
How can I make my bedroom the best environment for sleep?
Creating the right bedroom conditions is important for quality sleep. Here are some ideal bedroom conditions for a good night’s sleep:
- Darkness: Keep your bedroom as dark as possible, as exposure to light can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Use blackout curtains or blinds to block out outside light.
- Cool temperature: Keep your bedroom cool and comfortable, between 15-19 degrees Celsius. A cooler temperature can help you fall asleep faster and promote deeper sleep.
- Quiet: Try to minimize noise and disturbances in your bedroom. Consider using earplugs, white noise machines, or other sound-blocking devices if necessary.
- Comfortable bedding: Invest in comfortable pillows and a supportive mattress. The quality of your bedding can significantly impact the quality of your sleep.
- Decluttered space: Keep your bedroom tidy and organized, as clutter and mess can create a feeling of stress and unease that can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Technology-free zone: Avoid using electronic devices, such as smartphones or tablets, in your bedroom. The blue light emitted from screens can interfere with your sleep and the constant notifications and distractions can keep you awake.
- Avoid doing other day-to-day activities in the bedroom: Try to limit working, eating or watching TV in the bedroom. If you can associate the room only as a place to rest, rather than a source of stress or distraction, it will go a long way to help you benefit from a restful sleep.
Creating a peaceful and comfortable bedroom environment can help promote a better quality of sleep, leading to improved overall health and well-being.