One of the most important things you can do for good physical health and your overall well-being, is to get an adequate amount of sleep each night. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends that school aged children get at least 10 hours of sleep daily; teens between 9 and 10 hours daily; and adults between 7 and 8 hours daily. Establishing a healthy bedtime routine will help you to accomplish this adequate sleep goal.
Benefits of a Healthy Bedtime Routine
Work performance, productivity and mental clarity decline with inadequate sleep. Then, over time, your mental and physical health begin to suffer as well. Poor sleep quality is associated with a wide variety of important health concerns including:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Asthma Attacks
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Kidney Disease
This list doesn’t even include the mental health aspects of chronic sleep issues or the results and risks related to performance (such as lack of advancement at work, increased risk of accidents, memory impairments, lack of judgment, depression, anxiety, and more).
In children, inadequate amounts of sleep and poor sleep quality can lead to weakened immune systems, slow growth, and lower muscle mass. Now that you understand how important good quality sleep is, it’s time to focus on the things you can do that will promote quality sleep, night after night.
The first place to look is your nightly wind-down routine. The key here is routine. In order to experience the health benefits that a good night’s sleep has to offer, you must establish a healthy bedtime routine and boost it from time to time. Here are some things to try:
1) Transform Your Bedroom into an Oasis of Sleep
There are two things your bedroom should be used for, according to some experts. Sleep and intimacy. Anything that distracts from those two things, including sleeping with electronics, should be removed, first and foremost. This includes televisions, laptops, exercise equipment, mobile phones, etc.
Once you’ve removed those things, it’s time to create an atmosphere that is conducive to sleep. Eliminate loud colors, bright lights, and visual clutter from your bedroom, as these things distract you from quality sleep.
Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature (cooler is better for promoting good sleep) and choose soothing colors for walls, bedding, etc. Also, keep your bedroom clean, and consider using alarm clocks that do not emit bright lights which may interfere with sleep.
If you’ve been using your mobile phone as an alarm clock, it’s time to kick the habit. Remove the temptation that your cell phone provides for things like checking email, sending messages, playing games, or engaging in activities that keep your brain active long after you should have been asleep for the evening.
2) Sleep on a Natural Latex Mattress
Another focus of your good night’s sleep, is a healthy night’s sleep. One way to give your sleep a healthy boost is by making the move to a Natural Latex Mattress. Natural Latex Mattresses are made with 100% organic and natural materials and they contain no chemicals. You can rest comfortably on a natural latex mattress, knowing that you and your family are not breathing in harmful VOCs from:
- Dangerous Flame Retardants
- Prohibited Phthalates
- Heavy Metals
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
You also won’t find countless other chemicals that are common in mattresses made with synthetic materials or those made with materials sourced from environments that use pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process.
You will enjoy all of these important health benefits by making the switch to a Natural Latex Mattress. This is before you even get to the comfort benefits that come with choosing a Natural Latex Mattress – luxurious comfort, cushioned support and soothing pressure point relief. You will sleep comfortably through the night, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed, every morning.
3) Make Wiser Food and Fitness Choices
Your diet and exercise habits have a greater impact on your ability to rest well at night, than you might realize. Not only the foods you eat and the amount of exercise you get impact you, but the timing of these things as well.
Food and Sleep
You’ve probably heard that you should avoid eating heavy meals right before you go to sleep at night. Unfortunately, the average American household considers the evening meal to be the largest meal of the day.
In truth, you should eat larger meals earlier in the day (breakfast and lunch) while sticking to lighter meals in the evening – hours before trying to sleep. This will help you avoid food-related problems that can keep you up at night, like acid reflux, indigestion, heartburn, and simply being uncomfortably full and bloated.
Exercise and Sleep
It is important that you exercise every day. However, the timing of your exercises is important to consider. Exercise excites and energizes both your body and brain. You want this boost of energy and excitement early in the day rather than later. Exercise also increases your core body temperature; raises your heart rate; and it signals your system to release stimulating adrenaline, or epinephrine. Normally, this is a good thing, but when it occurs too close to bedtime, it can interrupt your sleep.
Avoid exercising too close to bedtime, or you will find yourself energized and unable to sleep. An exception to this is relaxation exercises or meditation, which helps you relax your mind and body, and enter into a restful state that is conducive to sleep.
4) Create a Bedtime Ritual
The importance of this step is often understated and underrated. However, when you create a consistent bedtime routine, you will find that your brain adapts to these activities and accepts it as a signal that it is time to begin shutting down for the night. This way, you can rest and fall asleep, without your brain keeping you awake. Your ritual may include a variety of things, but you will need to do the same things every night, in order to enjoy the full benefits of this ritual.
Some excellent suggestions include:
- Soothing Bath
- Reading (use low lights or blackout features if you use a tablet for reading)
- Relaxing Music
- Gentle Stretching Exercises
- Drinking Decaffeinated Tea
- Brushing Your Teeth
- Washing Your Face
- Relaxing Conversation/Massage with Your Partner
Any or all of these things, when done consistently at night, help signal your brain that it’s time to rest and relax so you can sleep.
5) Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule
This can be one of the most important things you can do to add a healthy boost to your nightly wind-down routine. Go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning. Even when you have weekends off or you are on vacation, it’s important to maintain a consistent routine so that your mind and body can enjoy deep, good quality sleep and overall feelings of well-being.
Even slight deviations of an hour or less can take your body days or weeks to recover. This is why so many people have a difficult time adjusting to daylight saving time changes each year.
When you keep your bedtime consistent, night after night, your internal clock adjusts to this, and works to help you find the sleep that may otherwise prove elusive. It may take a few weeks for your body to adjust to this schedule, but if you are consistent, you will notice a substantial improvement in the quality of your sleep and your overall feelings of well-being.
You don’t have to move mountains to create a better environment for sleep in your home or to give your bedtime routine a healthy boost. Try these five changes and experience the impact it delivers in helping you sleep more soundly, night after night.
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