You spend a great deal of your life sleeping, so you might as well get the best sleep possible every time you lay your head down. While there are some health conditions like sleep apnea that might require the help of an oral or maxillofacial surgeon like Dr. George Hatzigiannis to improve your sleep patterns, there are a number of steps you can take on your own to boost your sleep quality and improve various aspects of your life.
Create a Sleep Schedule and Stick to It
You might not need as much sleep to function as other people, or you might need more. Either way, use that knowledge to create a sleep schedule so that you go to bed at the same time every day, including weekends. Doing so better aligns your circadian rhythms so that your body is ready to fall asleep at the same time every day, increasing your chances of successfully falling asleep and snoozing through the night.
When your alarm goes off, don’t hit the snooze button for “five more minutes.” Not only is your sleep quality not as good between alarms as it is during your normal sleeping hours, but you might feel groggy afterward if you snooze. Rather than hit the snooze button, you can instead enjoy your time awake underneath the warm covers, relaxing and preparing for the day.
Create a Relaxing Ritual
In addition to creating a sleep schedule, you can further fine-tune your body for sleep with a before-bed ritual. This can be anything from preparing a warm cup of tea or reading a book to brushing your teeth and putting on your pajamas. No matter what you do, it’s best to do it with the lights down low so your brain isn’t overly stimulated before you lay down for the night.
Take It Easy on the Naps
While napping during the day is fine, napping too much or for too long can erode at your regular sleep pattern. If you do feel like you need a quick nap to feel rejuvenated and refreshed for the second half of the day, limit your time to no more than 20 minutes in the early afternoon. You’d be surprised at how much better you feel after a quick 15-minute nap rather than a 30 minute one.
Get in Some Exercise
If you find that you have trouble sleeping, wearing yourself out with physical activity can do the trick. Vigorous exercise is great for your physical and mental health, and it can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. It’s best to exercise during the morning or afternoon, as doing so at night or right before you go to bed can amp your body up and make it difficult for you to “cool down” before bedtime.
Sleep on a Comfortable Mattress/Pillow
You can put all these tips to good use and still experience poor quality of sleep. If so, it might be because your mattress and pillow aren’t of the best quality. Usually, you’ll want to start looking for a new mattress every 10 years, but you may need to look sooner if your current mattress isn’t all that comfortable. Do your research on the most comfortable mattresses and pillows, making sure you keep in mind any health issues or back problems that might impact the type of mattress you need. While price will most likely factor into your decision, know that poor sleep can cost more than the most expensive mattress.
Your overall quality of sleep impacts your mood, health and so much more. Do everything you can to protect your sleep and it’s sure to return the favor in spades.