If you want your overall health and wellbeing to improve, then you’re just going to have to go to bed. A good night’s sleep is vital for your health, and although it’s very easy to set your alarm a little earlier in the morning or stay up a little later than usual, the long and short-term effects can pay a heavy toll. Even just a single night without enough sleep is noticeable the following day.
While the amount of sleep that the average person needs can change according to age, the general rule of eight hours is a good one to stick to. You may be the type of person who only needs six, but whatever your sleeping needs, here’s how to get more from your sleeping time.
Know the Signs
There are some obvious and not so obvious signs that you’re not spending enough time on your slumber. If any of the following sound familiar, then it might be time to start looking at your bedtime schedule.
1: Bad Moods
If you’re noticeably more irritable, moody, or depressed, then this can be a warning that you’re not sleeping enough. Insomnia can be a symptom of depression and anxiety, so if you’re struggling to nod off, then you might benefit from a visit to the doctor.
2: Lack of Motivation
If you spend the whole day desperate to get back into bed, then you’re not going to have the motivation and energy needed to get you through the day. Productivity is often the first casualty when you don’t get enough sleep.
3: Daytime Exhaustion
From falling asleep at work to yawning every thirty minutes, if you’re relying on Red Bull and coffee to get you through your workday, then it could be a sign that you need to start going to bed earlier.
4: Memory Loss
Sleeping is vital for keeping your mind fresh, and it’s thought that a lack of enough sleep leads to forgetfulness.
5: Lower sex drive
Libido drop is one of the major signs of sleep deprivation. If you’re not feeling as sensual towards your partner as you used to, then you might benefit from more regular lie-ins.
There are other signs that can indicate that you aren’t getting enough time with your head on a pillow. High-stress levels, trouble thinking of the right word to use, or even something as simple as needing to read articles more than once just so that they register, are all clear signs that you need more snoozing time.
Tips for Better Sleep
Once you recognize that you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll have to start looking for ways to address the issue. Some are easier than others, but even taking small steps is going to be better for your long term health than ignoring the issue. Here are some of the best ways to get more from bedtime.
1: Get some sunlight
Your body needs exposure to the sun, and even if you just go for a thirty-minute walk every day, you’re going to feel the benefits. If you don’t have the time or energy to get outside for some natural light, then there are artificial lights available that have been shown to be very effective in combating insomnia. Ideally, you want exposure to either the sun or artificial sun-like bulbs for around two hours per day.
2: Get Comfortable
One of the leading causes of restless sleep is an uncomfortable bed. If you’ve been putting off buying a new mattress, then your sleeping patterns could be suffering. Waking up still as tired as you were the night before is usually a good indication that you’re not getting enough comfortable rest. This is even more vital if you are struggling with medical issues like back pain. Make sure that invest in a good quality mattress. Look for one that suits your needs, and do some research into the best mattresses for back pain and comfort. You spend up to a third of your life in bed, so make sure that it’s as comfortable as possible.
3: Get Rid of Blue Light
Exposure to blue light can have a very negative effect on your ability to sleep, especially if you expose yourself to it late at night. Unfortunately, social media sites make use of a lot of blue, so staring at your Facebook page before trying to sleep is not going to improve your chances of quality rest. There are some great ways to reduce your exposure to blue light:
- There are special glasses available that will block it out.
- Use apps that turn your devices onto night mode.
- Turn off the TV, smartphone, and tablet at least two hours before bed.
Blue light can make your body feel as if it’s daytime. Make sure that you manage your exposure to blue light, and your sleeping patterns will improve.
4: Avoid Late Night Caffeine
It might seem obvious, but there are still people who drink coffee late at night and then wonder why they aren’t getting enough sleep. Caffeine might be your go to breakfast, but you should definitely avoid all caffeine loaded drinks at least six hours before you’re planning to go to sleep.
5: Skip the Naps
Although there’s nothing quite so satisfying as a good afternoon nap, it’s going to affect your overall ability to sleep at night. Short naps can be very useful, but even a productive power nap will do nothing more than confuse your body’s natural rhythms, and that will make it much harder to drift off when you climb into bed. If you simply can’t live without your daytime nap, then make sure it’s the right length.
Sleep and health are very linked, and not getting enough sleep will inevitably show in your overall feeling of wellbeing. Make sure that you prioritize your sleeping time, and look for the most effective night-time routines that suit your own schedule. While there are many medical and traditional methods for getting more sleep, choosing the ones that you prefer will usually be a case of trial and error. Start practising your night-time routine, and you could be waking up tomorrow with energy levels you never believed possible.