How to Improve Your Sleeping Habits
We often talk about the number of hours that are needed for a good night's rest, yet leave out the importance of the quality of sleep you are receiving. It doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep you’re getting if you’re tossing and turning the whole time, now does it? Below we will discuss the importance of having quality sleep habits, as well as, the top 5 tips on how to improve your quality of sleep.
Quality Over Quantity Sleep Habits
Although the mattress companies did a great job marketing and conditioning us to believe that we need around 8 hours of sleep each night, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have now proven that you only need 4.5-6.5 hours each night consistently to maintain a good state of mental health and cognitive brain functioning. Within this study, they also were able to reveal that cognitive decline can occur from sleeping too much, and rather, it’s more important to focus on consistent quality sleep each night than the number of hours.
The Importance of Quality Sleep
We each live very complex lives that require us to utilize both our mental and cognitive functions in order to manage stress and keep us alive. As you sleep, your body regulates itself through many vital systems in functioning including your breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and many others that allow your body to restore itself through rest. Without quality sleep, you’re likely to feel off, irritable, and on edge as our bodies require adequate rest to restore balance and properly recover.
How to Improve Your Quality of Sleep
Each night before you go to bed may be different based on the day you, however, there are specific routines that you can set in place and environmental factors that you have control of that can help you receive more quality sleep. To improve your routine and environment for a better nights rest, try out the following:
Create a nighttime routine rather than a rigid bedtime. Too often we focus on what time we need to go to sleep causing ourselves anxiety when we are needing peace. By creating a nighttime routine where you read a book, have some tea, or create a hygiene ritual, you’re able to focus your mind towards winding down throughout that time rather than causing chaos around an arbitrary number goal.
Turn the TV off and put your phone on the charger. Within an hour before heading to bed, include in your routine that you’re going to stay off your phone and away from screens. The blue lights from the screens entice the mind with fast and bright images that keep our minds awake and can keep you up longer even after you turn the lights off.
Sleep with your phone away from your bed. With consistent notifications and vibrations your phone can be a distraction even in your sleep and can even wake you up if you receive a call. As we often use our phones as alarm clocks, this will help you get a better night's rest, and wake up easier as you’ll have to physically get out of bed to turn your alarm off rather than rolling over and pressing snooze.
Create a space of tranquility. Your bedroom is a sanctuary of recovery for both your mind and your body. By setting up your space with dark shades to cover any light that may shine through and adding in relaxing touches such as plants, aromatherapy, or white noise, you’re able to condition your mind towards rest within your bedroom. If at all possible try to avoid working from your bed and not having a television in your bedroom. This will enforce to your mind that this is a space of rest, not work or entertainment.
Listen to your body. Each day you’re going to feel a bit differently in terms of how tired you may be. Listen to your body above all else and when it needs rest, give it that time, if it wants to stay up 30 minutes past your normal routine, that’s okay also. Your body knows what’s best for you and by learning to listen to it, your quality of sleep is bound to improve.
Now that you know why it’s more important to have quality over quantity when it comes to sleep, it’s imperative to create a conducive environment to do so and put into place the habits that will allow you to get the best night's rest possible. Sleep tight!
Chelsea Meece is a Certified Holistic Health Coach who specializes in Self-Care and Boundary Setting. Outside of Coaching, she is a Freelance Writer who has been published internationally and a Backpacker of 8 Countries and over 1000+ Miles On-Trail.
Brendan P Lucey, Julie Wisch, Anna H Boerwinkle, Eric C Landsness, Cristina D Toedebusch, Jennifer S McLeland, Omar H Butt, Jason Hassenstab, John C Morris, Beau M Ances, David M Holtzman, Sleep and longitudinal cognitive performance in preclinical and early symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, Brain, Volume 144, Issue 9, September 2021, Pages 2852–2862, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab272