We spend one third of our lives drifting into dreamland. If we spent one third of our waking lives doing anything, we would make sure it was beneficial, healthy, and done correctly. Why don't we feel this way about sleep? In fact, some studies indicate that a whopping 72% of Americans are unsatisfied with the quality of their sleep. With constant stressors from financial struggles, the ongoing pandemic, job loss, and more, sleep is harder to get, yet just as essential! Sleep is a foundational part of our mental and physical framework. Sleep allows the body to reset and recharge for the coming day. The average adult is meant to function for sixteen hours at a time, with eight hours of rest in between. Are you getting your eight hours a night? Does it feel truly restorative? If you're one of the 72%, you probably could improve your sleep quality.
Total darkness is essential for good sleep. We're talking TOTAL. DARKNESS. The reason for this is because your circadian rhythm (aka the internal body clock) is dictated by the amount and kind of light exposed to the eyes, among other things. Light can penetrate through the eyelids, so even with your eyes closed, light can still affect sleep. One night before bed, shut the doors and curtains, turn off the lights, and see what light sources remain. Is there light coming from underneath the door? What about digital alarm clocks? Are your shades or curtains really blocking out light. Good sleep can be made better by eliminating these light sources. If you can't eliminate light sources, eye masks that thoroughly cover your eyes can also be beneficial. Going even further, the blue light that emanates from phones, televisions, and computers imitates the light emitted during bright day light. It's recommended to put away electronics 30 minutes before bed and dim lights as well to further eliminate light from messing with your circadian rhythm.
Doctors recommend sleeping in cold rooms, approximately 60-67 degrees for optimal heat. The reason for this is because the body naturally cools while sleeping. When the room is too hot, the body has to kick into overdrive in order to cool itself. When the room is too cold, the body has to work harder in order to warm the body. A temperature of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit allows the body to function properly without worrying about outside temperatures. Worried about running the heat or A/C? Take advantage of cool nights and sleep with the windows open!
Looking for a good indication of your levels of exhaustion or potential sleep issues? Start thinking more about how long it takes you to fall asleep at night. Studies indicate that falling asleep between 5 and 15 minutes of laying down to rest is a healthy rate. Falling asleep in less than five minutes could indicate extreme exhaustion; whereas, taking more than 20 minutes to fall asleep could indicate sleep issues or environmental issues (like light/noise/etc.).
Did you know noise pollution during sleep can actually increase your chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, and decreased immunity? Noise pollution includes unnatural noises from loud neighbors, A/C units, street traffic, or machine humming. It is often not thought of as natural sounds, but excessive noises that interfere with ability to focus can also be considered noise pollution, despite its source. Ideally, sleeping in a soundproof room would provide the ultimate restful night, but scientists have also studied the potential benefits or harm of white noise. When studying individuals who slept in already silent rooms, white noise did not inhibit sleep, but in subjects who slept in rooms with excessive noise pollution, the dulling noise of white noise actually increased sleep depth and times. If you can't eliminate noise, a white noise machine or app that is either a muffled frequency or natural soundscape can increase sleep quality.
Fun fact! Depending on how you sleep (side, back, or stomach) you could need a different kind of pillow. For side sleepers, a high loft pillow with firm support made from shapeable material is ideal as it allows the neck to be cradled and elevated to the height of the shoulders without drooping to one side or the other. Shapeable materials will also allow the arm to tuck underneath, as many side sleepers sleep. Back sleepers will feel ideal with a medium loft, medium support pillow. The pillow should conform to you. This allows the head to be minimally elevated without falling back as you rest. Preventing the head from falling back can help prevent the jaw from relaxing to an open position as you sleep, which can increase snoring, dehydration, and lower sleep quality. Stomach sleepers on the other hand, should use a low loft, mild support pillow with a compressible fill such as down or synthetic down. The neck can then remained aligned with the spine and the compressible fill allows for the arm to wrap under if desired. You can seek out pillows with these exact specificities, or find a retailer that custom fits pillows to your needs.
A supportive mattress can make or break a good night's sleep. An ideal mattress will support the spine without collapsing under key pressure points where the bulk of the body's weight lies. When laying on your bed, check if your heaviest body points (buttocks/hips/back/shoulders) feel as if they are sunken beyond other Another important factor is motion control. To do a quick motion control test, get settled in the bed. Notice if the mattress takes a moment to get settled around you, even if you are still. Roll over either to your back/stomach or other side. Notice if the mattress moves significantly. Low quality or worn out mattresses will shift with weight and pressure changes, making restful sleep difficult. Other signs of a worn out mattress can include age (over ten years old), an increase in allergies, waking up tired, creaks and groins in the springs, and visible signs of wear. When looking for a new, supportive mattress, seek out options with firm support and comfortable cushion to conform and support the spine. Many mattress stores offer mattress fittings to find the right fit for you based on more than just preference.
With this knowledge in hand, you are ready to have a better night's sleep! Which of these tips will you be taking advantage of?
You know we wouldn't give you all this information without giving you a good deal on some quality products! Wellness Professionals has partnered with Croft American Made Mattresses to offer comfortable quality products to our patients. As a Wellness Professionals patient, you can enjoy:
25% OFF ONE ACCESSORY OR PILLOW
35% OFF TWO ACCESSORIES OR PILLOWS
25% OFF MATTRESSES
25% OFF ADJUSTABLE BASES.
Take advantage of these offers and more and find better sleep today. Through Croft's AMAZING professional mattress fittings, you will find the right sleep set for YOU!Get Fitted for a Mattress