Sleep is crucial for the human body to function and prepare you for another day’s work. Making sure you get the best sleep possible is why we exist. If you read “4 Conditions for a Better Night’s Sleep,” made some changes in your sleep routine, and found that you are sleeping better, you saw how easily we are affected by things that we never thought would impact our sleep. Making proper changes in our bedtime routines can have a much bigger payoff than one may suspect. Increased motivation, less stress, less fatigue, and a better overall outlook on tomorrow’s challenges will ultimately lead to a much happier life. But what happens when you make the necessary changes, and sleep does not improve? Then we may need to look a little bit closer at what conditions you are sleeping in. Let’s branch off of “4 Conditions for a Better Night’s Sleep,” and add another four to help solve this common problem.
#1 – Mattress
When thinking of conditions to make your night’s rest better, we commonly forget about how important our bed is. If your mattress is old, it may lack the proper support your body needs. A worn-out mattress can sag or even apply more pressure to parts of the body that need the proper support. Whether you are using a foam or an inner spring mattress, time takes its toll on the durability. Memory foam mattresses can start sagging on the ends, or even in the middle if not supported on the bed properly. Spring mattresses can begin to sag, or sink inward over time, resulting in springs that have worn down. In either instance, the body will contort unnaturally, resulting in a person tossing and turning to find comfort or waking up sore.
#2 – Pillows
Whether you sleep with one or more pillows, it has an impact on the quality of your sleep. Figuring out what type of pillow will work best for you may be trial and error. If the pillow is too large and stiff, it will distort your neck during sleep. It can cause snoring, stiff necks and even wake you up throughout the night. If the pillow is too soft, it may not support your neck well enough, and result in similar issues. When lying down, you want your neck to simulate your posture as when you are standing up – keep a straight spine all the way up to your head. Even slight changes in your posture during sleep can cause an unnatural and uncomfortable slumber.
#3 – Decrease the Light
Did you know that even the light from your digital alarm clock can prevent you from having a deep, fully relaxed sleep? Since your brain is constantly working while sleeping, any hint of light could trigger the body to relate it to daytime and the need to be awake. Now this doesn’t mean sleep in a cave because achieving complete black-out darkness is impossible for everyone. To shed as much light from your bedroom, however, is that desired effect. Adding shades or blinds to the windows to help block out moonlight, street lights, or car lights will help. Turning off hallway lights and closing the door will help block out unnecessary light and sound from entering. The point is to sleep with the room as dark as you can get it, without causing stress to your mind about it not being “dark enough.” The lack of light will help alleviate any chance that your brain will be tricked into waking up.
#4 – Avoid Food and Drinks
Cut out food and beverages before bedtime, but not all day long. It is very common to wake during the night to use the bathroom. It is also common to have trouble getting back to sleep after your trip to the rest room due to the body being active. You may be able to fall back asleep more easily than others, yet this disruption in your sleep can lead to fatigue the next day. If you eat too much, a stomach ache, acid reflux or even cramping may occur preventing you to fall asleep. The same feelings may arise if you drink too much right before bed. Try to avoid food and drinks before bed to ensure you do not have to wake up for those pesky trips to the bathroom.
These 4 conditions are not a must have for each person, but more of a stepping stone for those who may have trouble sleeping. If you still have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, please feel free to look at our sleep tips for further help.