How a Good Night's Rest Can Change Your Life

Sleeping is a natural thing that pretty much every living thing does. Sleeping is important because it repairs our bodies and replenishes our energy, giving us the energy and strength we need to continue with our lives. However, far too many of us don’t get enough sleep and we don’t even know it. Think your 6 hours per day is enough? With just one extra hour of sleep per day, you could experience wonderful health benefits that are both surprising and attractive.

Think that a good night’s rest can’t improve your life? Think again. Here are a couple of tips on how you can achieve a good night's rest and some reasons why being well-rested is important.

Sticking to a regular sleeping schedule. The first thing you should get used to is sleeping on a regular basis and at similar times each night. We all have an internal clock and it’s important that we set it correctly to our life. If you need to get up at 8 AM, then consider sleeping around midnight to ensure you get as close to 8 hours of sleep as possible. 8 hours might sound a lot, but if you factor in trying to fall asleep and giving yourself a couple of minutes to adjust your eyes and snooze, it’s actually closer to around 7:30 hours.

Not only does sticking to a schedule help adjust your internal clock, it also ensures that you’re never late for your appointments, work and that you know how to be punctual. This can be incredibly useful for people who are constantly late to work or find it hard to stick to a sleeping pattern. You should also think about adjusting the amount you need to sleep by experimenting. Some people only need about 7 hours of sleep, while others prefer 8 hours. It all depends on how much energy you expend during the day and how long it takes for your body to recharge.

If you find yourself falling asleep on the sofa, on public transportation or even at work, then you need to seriously rethink your schedule so that you can maintain not only a healthy sleeping schedule but also because you don’t want to associate things like commuting or work with sleep. If you get used to sleeping on the train ride to work, then you’ll start to make compromises like going to bed 30 minutes later because you can get 30 minutes of sleep on the train. Naps can be healthy and a great way to restore a bit of energy, but you ultimately shouldn’t rely on them (or energy drinks and coffee for that matter) because you should just get enough sleep.

Relaxing before sleep. A fantastic way to ensure that your sleep is effective and allows you to wake up feeling refreshed is if you wind down and relax before going to bed. First, make sure you shutdown your computer, put your phone on silent and tell people who were talking to you that you’re going to go bed. Next, fill up the bath with warm water and soak for a little while to relax and destress. You can enhance the effect by adding some essential oils to your bath, or using a bath cream that promotes muscle relaxation and stress relief.

Once you’re finished, put on your favorite pajamas (invest in some high-quality clothing for sleep if you haven’t already) and give yourself a moment to relax before getting under the sheets. Do some light yoga stretches to relax your mind, but nothing too vigorous. This type of pre-sleep ritual not only prepares your body for sleep, but it also gives your mind some time to relax. If you do this enough, your body will automatically adjust and you’ll feel tired and sleepy whenever you start performing your nightly ritual, giving you a better night’s sleep and allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready.

Tips for Getting a Better Night's Rest

Improving your bedroom comforts. From night lights to luxurious covers, you should make your bedroom fit your needs. Ensure that your mattress is a high-quality one, make sure you have lots of comforting pillows to fit various needs, and learn how to choose a down comforter if you want maximum comfort. You want to feel like instantly falling asleep as soon as you get into bed. You don’t want to toss and turn or wake up with pains in your body because your bed wasn’t very comfortable.

A good tip to picking a suitable bed is to try them out at a bed store. When you sample each mattress, make sure you take off your shoes and socks (unless forbidden) and relax in the bed for at least five minutes to get comfortable. Taking just 30 seconds isn’t enough and you need some time for your body to adjust to the feeling of the mattress before you can make a decision.

Next, make sure you remove as many distractions as possible from the bedroom. You don’t want to associate computers or televisions with your sleep time, so remove all your electronic devices. Don’t have a TV in your room, don’t take your laptop to bed, and try to establish some rules such as keeping your phone out of arm’s reach and putting it on silent so that you aren’t tempted to look at it when it buzzes at night. This also helps if you use your phone as an alarm because you’re more likely to get out of bed to switch it off.

Control the amount of light you get. Something that people don’t think about enough is how much they’re exposed to light during their sleep. They think that because they’ve closed their eyes, they’re immune to light and no matter how bright it is around them, they should sleep fine with the help of a mask. However, it’s much more complicated than that and your body naturally tries to adjust its internal clock based on how much light you are getting.

For starters, trying to expose yourself to more light during the morning. Get out of the door as soon as possible, take regular breaks and stroll around outside, or eat your breakfast near a window and expose your face to the bright sun. Let in as much light as you can during the day. Open the blinds, the curtains, and try to be outside more often.

When it comes to night, this is when you should gradually try to reduce the amount of light you’re taking in. For starters, avoid computer screens close to bedtime. 2 hours before you go to bed, switch off any computer screens, or if you absolutely have to use the computer during the evening, then install a screen dimmer such as f.lux. This automatically adjusts the light of the screen so that it’s warmer and more comforting when used for long periods of time. Avoid late-night television, and as mentioned before, avoid using computers or televisions when you’re actually in bed. Keep the lights low and restrict yourself to only using a night light if you must. Preferably, your room should be nice and dark when you finally close your eyes to go to bed.

The Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Rest

There are many reasons why you should get a good night’s rest. For starters, being well-rested and getting enough sleep means that you can reset your body’s state for the next day. You will recharge your physical energy and strength, but you’ll also reset your mental state so that most of the stressful and negative thoughts from the previous day are forgotten. This ultimately improves your concentration and helps you focus throughout the day, leading to better health and a positive outlook.

Getting enough sleep also helps you make better decisions. When your brain is clear and free from negative thoughts, it helps you focus on making better judgement calls, be it at work with a sensitive issue or even while driving. Driving while drowsy is actually just as bad as driving while under the influence; your lack of focus can become a very dangerous thing on the road, and it’s not unusual for people to end up in accidents because they’ve fallen asleep at the wheel.

A good night’s rest also helps to improve your mood. If you’ve ever woken up after a couple hours of sleep feeling groggy and irritated, it’s most likely because you didn’t get enough sleep. Compare that to sleeping in on the weekends when we aren’t working, and it’s easy to see there’s a major difference in our moods when we get 5 or 7 hours of sleep. If you get plenty of rest and practice a nightly ritual before you get into bed, you’ll wake up feeling fantastic every day, ready to take on any challenge the day can throw at you.

Lastly, we should also mention your immune system. Although it sounds a little farfetched, sleep deprivation can actually hinder your immune system, thus making you more vulnerable to illness. By sleeping more often, your body has time to repair tissues and organs, bolstering your defense against sickness and giving your immune system a much-needed boost.

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