Did you know that 50% Canadian adults report having trouble falling or staying asleep at night? Sleep experts recommend that Canadian adults get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
We get it – in the age of cell phones, Netflix and the “always on” inbox, it can be hard to get the sleep you need. When life gets busy, sleep is usually the first thing we sacrifice – but we shouldn’t! Quality sleep is essential for your physical and mental health.
The good news is there are easy things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. Read on for 10 tips to a better night’s sleep!
1. Rule out a sleep disorder
Chronic snoring and disturbed sleep patterns can be symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, heart disease and mood and memory problems – so it’s important to be assessed by a medical professional. Take our instant sleep quiz if think you may suffer from this disorder.
2. Create an optimal sleep environment
A cool, dark room is conducive to a restful sleep. Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow that are suited to your sleep preferences, and block out outside noise with earphones or a white noise machine. Blackout shades, heavy curtains or an eye mask will block out any light that could interfere with getting your 7-9 hours.
3. Light exposure for day and night
During the daytime, natural sunlight or bright light keep circadian rhythms healthy which leads to better sleep quality and duration. At nighttime, reduce your exposure to artificial blue light, which can interrupt sleep. TV’s, smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices should be avoided. If they can’t be avoided, try blue light glasses, or an app that blocks blue light.
4. Keep a consistent schedule
Long term sleep quality be created with a consistent sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps to regulate your body’s clock, and raise levels of the sleep hormone melatonin.
5. Get exercise 3-4 times per week
Exercise can help you fall asleep – but it’s important to exercise at the right time if you want to sleep soundly. If you can, exercise during the day and stop activity at least three hours before bedtime.
6. Limit alcohol consumption
Having a nightcap may make you feel relaxed, but even a couple of drinks can have a negative effect on sleep quality and hormones. Alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and reduces melatonin production.
7. Relax and wind down
Your body needs time to prepare for sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, participate in calming activities, such as reading or meditation before bedtime. Relaxing before bedtime can free your mind from intruding thoughts that can keep you awake.
8. Take a warm bath or shower
Overall sleep quality can be improved by taking a warm bath or shower 90 minutes before bed. When you get out of the warm bath or shower, your body temperature drops – which helps your body to prepare for sleep. If you like, use essential oils such as lavender which can be effective in promoting relaxation.
9. Avoid daytime naps
Afternoon naps decrease the desire to sleep at night by confusing your body’s internal clock. If you have difficulty falling or staying asleep, eliminate afternoon naps entirely or have a power nap before 2 pm.
10. Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine stimulates the body’s nervous system and can stay elevated in the blood for 6-8 hours. Drinking coffee, tea or other caffeinated drinks after 3 or 4 pm could affect your ability to sleep soundly.
In order to live a quality life, you need quality sleep! Allowing your body and mind time to rest and recharge should be a priority. We hope that these tips help you get a better night’s rest, tonight!