The benefits of sleep are often underrated. We think we can stay up late, have inconsistent routines, or get by on little sleep without too much harm done. But according to the CDC, “sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.”
There are many other benefits to good sleep as well. It lowers your risk of obesity, improves your immune system, helps balance your hormones, improves your mental abilities, and helps fight depression.
If you don’t regularly get a good night’s rest, it’s safe to say that getting better sleep could radically change how you feel. So let’s take a look at three simple sleep routines that can transform your health.
Don’t Lie Awake In Bed
Some people don’t sleep well because they can’t fall asleep in the first place. Insomnia is a common condition that may run in families. It can be caused by situational stress but doesn’t have to be. The feeling of being “wired but tired” is what often characterizes insomnia.
One of the worst things you can do when battling insomnia is to lie in bed awake for longer than 15 or 20 minutes. When you do this, you start to associate your bed with being awake, or maybe even the feelings of frustration about your insomnia. You begin to form an expectation that when you lie in bed, you are going to have trouble falling asleep.
To solve this problem, use your bed for sleeping only. If you are having a bout of insomnia, then get out of bed and sit in a chair in the dark. Stay sitting up until your mind starts to calm down a bit. Some people even like to read, but this could possibly keep you up even longer. The best thing to do is try to relax and let your thoughts run themselves out. Once you start to wind down, lay back down in bed to fall asleep there.
Unplug Before Bed
Computers and phones can be disrupting your sleep on multiple levels. One of the most obvious being that they can be a distraction that keeps you from going to sleep at your desired time. It may seem harmless to check your emails or messages one last time before bed, but five minutes can quickly turn into thirty as you respond to or look at “just one more thing.” And by keeping your mind alert and engaged, you are convincing your body that you need to stay awake.
Once you’ve finally put the devices down, don’t forget to turn off notifications for texts, calls, emails, or any other apps or reminders. Even if you think you’re a heavy sleeper, the constant dings, blips, or vibrations in the night can keep you from going into a deep, restful sleep. Put your phone as far away from you as you can at night, so when notifications are off, you won’t be tempted to pick it up and sneak a peek.
Another big problem with using screens before bed is that they emit blue light. Blue light suppresses melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is usually produced when it gets dark outside, triggering our bodies to go to sleep. Staying away from screens (and keeping lights in our homes dimmed) for about an hour before bed will allow these natural processes to occur.
Stick With A Consistent Sleep and Wake Time
According to sleep.org, erratic sleep patterns can make you feel bad. To solve this problem, they recommend for you to, “Pick a bedtime and a wake-up time—and stick to them as much as possible.”
If you have a late night on the weekends, you can sleep in an extra hour or two, but try not to drastically change your schedule. This will mess up your overall sleep routine and may make you lose more rest over the course of the week. It’s better for your body to be tired and ready to sleep the next night than to get extra sleep in the morning and have trouble going to bed in the evening.
If you are a deep sleeper or are hard of hearing, getting up at a consistent time may be your biggest challenge. Alarms such as the Serene Bluetooth Bedshaker can ensure that you wake up when you want to. The Serene pairs with your smartphone alarm so that you can use it at home or while traveling. The vibrations start off gentle but gradually increase to extra strong ones that even the deepest sleepers can’t ignore.
Making a small effort to change these three parts of your sleep routine can yield big results.
ILA has a variety of alarm clocks and bedshakers to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!