According to the Better Sleep Council, inadequate amounts of sleep can lead to an increase in blood pressure and stress hormone production. The body can become stressed when it does not get enough sleep. Not to mention, poor sleep reduces concentration/focus and can spark mood swings, irritability, stress, and a weakened immune system. Poor sleep can even lead to sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. It can also affect productivity levels in the workplace or otherwise.
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule can be vital in maintaining the body’s Circadian rhythm and routine. A lifestyle change may be necessary if your night’s sleep is usually disruptive or of poor quality. Most experts believe that between 7.5 and 8.5 hours of sleep a night is optimal.
- Schedule your sleep time and make sure it is consistent. Go to bed at the same time each day of the week (including weekends).
- Relax before sleeping. Limit any stimulating activities such as exercise and work. Limit your use of electronic devices/screens in your last 30 minutes before bedtime, as the blue light can make your brain feel more awake. Instead, perform activities you find relaxing before bed, such as reading or meditating.
- Create an environment that is optimized for sleep. It should be a dark, well-ventilated area with an appropriate sleeping temperature. Quality bedding and space is also important in ensuring a restful night. Your mattress and pillow should be supportive while also being comfortable.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – exercise and a healthy diet can also help contribute to quality sleep. Avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine close to bedtime can help you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep. Exercising during the day can also tire the body out and get it ready to go to sleep. Finish eating 2-3 hours before bedtime so that your whole system can relax with you.