The cool, crisp, and rainy days of November make this the perfect time of year to celebrate National Sleep Comfort month, so curl up, get comfortable, and change your sleep habits to make sure that every night you get the rest you need.
Getting a good night’s sleep does much more for your body than simply making you feel rested and awake in the morning. Doctors and scientists have found that the amount of sleep we get has a big impact on many areas of health; from improving our memories to strengthening our immune systems. Despite the benefits of getting a full night’s sleep, polls across the United States continually show that as many as 40% of Americans are regularly sleeping fewer than the doctor recommended 7-9 hours a night. There are many reasons that people miss out on sleep, but improving even one or two sleeping habits can not only make you less reliant on that cup of coffee every morning, but it can help to improve your overall well-being. Here are some of the ways that you can help to improve your sleep habits:
Turn Out the Lights
Though sleeping in the dark seems obvious, many of us don’t realize that simply turning off the lamp is not enough to get it truly dark in the bedroom. Many gadgets and gizmos have LED lights that shine all the time, and lights from neighbors and streetlamps can slip in through curtains. Exposure to light that is similar to sunlight – that is, lights with many blue hues – can suppress levels of melatonin and make it harder to catch your zzzz’s. Using black-out curtains and an eye mask is the best way to make sure that you get true darkness.
Wind Down with a Nightly Ritual
It takes time for your body to relax and shift from active daytime mode into readiness for sleep. If you are active right until the time you drop into bed, then you are more likely to toss and turn as your body gets used to the idea that it is really time for sleep. Instead of going directly from watching a movie or working on the computer into bed, give yourself an hour of quiet time with screens off before you get under the covers.
Enhance Your Bedroom Environment
Making your bedroom into a sanctuary of rest and relaxation is one of the best ways to ensure that you make the most out of your time asleep. Comfortable bedding is important, and choosing the right softness of pillows and the right number of blankets can keep you from tossing and turning. Also choosing a hypo-allergenic mattress cover can help keep pesky, allergy triggering dust mites from overrunning the bed. If you ever wake up in the middle of the night coughing, or find yourself with a recurring scratchy throat in the morning, invest in a room air purifier. An air purifier with a true HEPA filter is one of the best ways to remove pollutants, like mold spores, dust mites, and pollen that can trigger allergic reactions at home.