It’s been said that sleep is for the weak, and while this adage might have originated in jest, it has since become a philosophy that people are living by in this day and age. This is unfortunate because many are losing out on the wonderful benefits of sleep — not to mention, dangerous, as the lack of which has been known to come with a plethora of consequences.
Of course, among the latter is sleep’s well-documented effect on mental health. As a matter of fact, sleep directly affects your mental state so profoundly that many psychiatric disorders — such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more — can be directly connected to sleep deprivation and vice versa. Needless to say, there’s nothing noble about eschewing sleep to chase productivity. Rather, it’s infinitely more important to put a premium on improving your sleeping habits for the sake of your mental health and clarity, as well as to reap delicious physical benefits in the process. Here’s how you can do it.
Make Your Bedroom Conducive to Sleep
Good sleeping habits literally starts in the bedroom. In fact, experts agree that there is actually such a thing as a sleep-inducing environment. It’s in your best interest, indeed, to take great pains in making your slumber area conducive to sleeping, keeping in mind elements such as noise, temperature, and light levels.
Just as important to consider is your sleeping surface. Fewer things are as detrimental to sleep as a lumpy old mattress that provides little to no support to your neck or back, so if your mattress is getting on with age, it might be high time to invest in a new one. Mattress options have grown in leaps and bounds over the years, so instead of a traditional mattress, you might do well to go for any one of the many bed-in-a-box options that’s currently all the rage today.
Put Down Your Gadgets
It’s been found that smartphones and other portable gadgets negatively affect your ability to fall asleep, which is why, as we spiral toward tech addiction, sleep deprivation is becoming more prevalent. This is because light, in general, decreases the production of melatonin (the very hormone that helps us sleep).
It goes without saying that the blue light from your gadgets is keeping you more alert well into the night, subsequently affecting your circadian rhythm. It’s important, therefore, to control your light exposure before and during bedtime. This means putting down your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and e-readers a good hour or two before bedtime and avoiding late-night television. You also need to make sure that your room is completely dark, so use a sleep mask or install black-out curtains or blinds to block out light sources.
Get Some Extra Help From Vitamins and Supplements
Did you know that certain vitamins and minerals can actually improve sleep? Calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B, and potassium can all aid your sleep. The best way to consume these vitamins and minerals is to take a daily multivitamin. Not only can taking a multivitamin help you sleep better, but it can also raise energy levels and boost your immune and digestive systems.
Stay in Sync with Your Sleep-Wake Cycle
Speaking of your circadian rhythm, it’s important to know that a significant part of sleeping better relies heavily on your ability to maintain your natural sleep-wake cycle. The best way that this can be achieved is by going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time each day, give or take an hour or two, which means that going to bed late and sleeping in on weekends is a no-no. You even need to be smarter about napping, using it as a tool to pay off sleep debt during the day but not going so overboard that you have a hard time sleeping at night.
While keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule may seem like a tall order, it really is well worth the effort. Not only will you sleep easier, but you will wake up more energized and refreshed. So, despite some challenging adjustments at first, it’s crucial that you keep at it until you can get your circadian rhythm in order, as well as avoid anything that will throw it out of whack.
Suffice it to say, you literally need to sleep to hold on to your sanity and stay healthy holistically. Take these tips to heart for that sweet, sweet slumber and see the difference.