How to Get Better Quality Sleep
Getting enough sleep is key to living a healthy life. Research shows not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your brain function, hormones and ability to exercise. A lack of sleep can also cause weight gain and increase your likelihood of getting sick. According to the CDC a third of American adults get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Adults should try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep, while children may need 10 or more hours of sleep. While quantity of sleep is important, it is also important you are getting good quality sleep at night. There are many ways you can help yourself fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
Pay Attention to Light Exposure
Light exposure is important to maintaining a good sleep routine. Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. It helps you stay awake during the day and tells you when it’s time to go to sleep. You should make sure you get plenty of sunlight or bright light during the day, to help maintain your circadian rhythm. Getting enough light during the day can help you fall asleep at night. According to a study, getting enough bright light exposure during the day reduced the time it took participants to fall asleep by 83%.
It is also important to limit your exposure to light before bedtime. Blue light emitted from screens can make your brain think it is still daytime, throwing your circadian rhythm off. This will reduce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Researchers suggest turning off devices like TVs and cellphones at least two hours before bedtime to reduce your blue light exposure.
Limit Naps & Caffeine
If you are struggling to fall asleep at night, you should try limiting your naps throughout the day. Taking naps can confuse your circadian rhythm. One study found participants who took daytime naps still felt sleepy during the day. However napping for short periods of time can help you feel more awake during the day. One study found napping for 30 minutes or less is beneficial for brain function, but anything much longer can harm sleep quality. Overall, napping benefits and consequences vary person to person. If you find something that works for you, stick with it.
You should also watch your caffeine intake during the day. Caffeine acts as a boost to your nervous system helping improve focus and energy. However, when consumed too close to bedtime caffeine can stop your body from naturally relaxing at night, preventing sleep. Caffeine can stay in your body for six to eight hours. Researchers do not recommend drinking caffeine in the late afternoon or evening, especially if you have trouble sleeping. One study found drinking caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime greatly worsened sleep quality. Cutting your evening cup of coffee or tea out of your diet can greatly improve your sleep quality.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
One of the most beneficial things you can do for better sleep is establish a bedtime routine. The key to a good bedtime routine is to find something that is relaxing to you. Studies show relaxation techniques before bed can greatly improve sleep quality. Some popular techniques include reading a book, listening to music, taking a hot bath and meditating. It’s important to practice different techniques and find one that works best for you.
It’s important to practice your bedtime routine around the same time every night. Being consistent with when you go to bed and wake up can help your sleep quality in the long-term. One study found participants who stayed up late on the weekends reported poor sleep quality during the week. If you practice going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday, your body’s circadian rhythm will adjust, eventually helping you wake up on your own.
Use an Air Purifier
Setting up a comfortable bedroom environment can help improve sleep quality. This includes setting a comfortable temperature, blocking light sources and picking out a comfortable bed. However you should also consider your bedroom’s air quality. Indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air, and that air pollution can affect how well you sleep. One study found people who lived in areas with high levels of air pollution were 60 percent more likely to sleep poorly, than those who lived in areas with cleaner air. One way to clean the air in your home is to use a True HEPA air purifier.
A True HEPA air purifier removes up to 99.97% of airborne particles floating in your home. These particles can be as small as 0.3 microns including smoke, dust, pollen, pet hair and danger, mold spores and dust mite debris. These particles can cause congestion causing you to not sleep soundly through the night. Filter-Monster air purifier filters meet True HEPA standards so your bedroom environment remains happy, healthy and pure.
Use a Humidifier
Another cause for a lack of sleep can be dry air in your home. Dry air can cause a dry cough and snoring, both which can keep you up at night. Adding humidity to the air allows more moisture into your body, making your cough more productive and snoring less likely, allowing you to sleep more peacefully. Using a humidifier will add moisture to the air and help relieve some symptoms. The added humidity will also cut down on allergens in your home’s air. Dry air often often has allergens, which can also irritate the throat and disturb sleep. If you wake up with a dry mouth, you most likely have low humidity in your home and should consider investing in a humidifier.
While humidifiers offer a range of benefits, it’s important to monitor your home’s humidity level. Excessive levels of humidity can make breathing difficult and some allergy symptoms worse. Common allergens, including dust mites, mold and mildew thrive in damp environments. According to the EPA, the ideal indoor humidity level should be between 30-50%. Humidity levels above 60% are too high. You can easily monitor your home’s humidity with a humidity meter or some thermostats have this feature automatically built in for easy monitoring.
The Big Picture
The big picture is that sleep plays an important part in your overall health. Adults should aim to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Getting enough sleep can help prevent diseases, improve brain functionality and prevent weight gain. Paying attention to light exposure, limiting naps and coffee, practicing relaxation techniques, using an air purifier and using a humidifier are all ways to help improve your sleep and start living a healthier life.
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