If you find yourself struggling to sleep, chances are you’re compromising your overall health. People who struggle to sleep also suffer in other areas of their lives because sleep plays a major role in your daily lifestyle.
It has been proven to improve productivity and concentration, reduce the risk of weight gain, and lower chances of heart disease. However, although the benefits of healthy sleep habits are clear, the majority of Americans still struggle to get proper sleep or to seek out adequate solutions. If you find it difficult to get a good night’s rest, here are five simple tips:
Get a New Mattress
What you sleep on will certainly affect your quality of sleep. Although a mattress requires a bigger budget, many modern companies allow you to try the mattress for a few months and return it if it doesn’t work out.
This gives you the opportunity to see what difference a new mattress makes. And everyone is different in terms of what makes them most comfortable. For example, those who tend to get hot at night may opt for a cooling mattress that disperses heat evenly instead of trapping it. This is especially true during the summer when one-third of Americans struggle to get adequate sleep because of heat-related issues.
Weighted blankets allow the wearer to feel more comfortable as they fall asleep by adding a gentle pressure that provides relief on the body. This “deep touch pressure” helps mimic the feeling of embrace, releasing neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin that are responsible for sleep regulation. The feeling you get from being held also releases oxycontin, which can decrease stress levels that keep you up at night. People who suffer from anxiety might find a weighted blanket very useful as a comfort tool.
White and pink noise machines are becoming increasingly common among people of all ages. These machines help lull you to sleep in different ways. For example, a simple box fan is an example of white noise because it emits sound evenly across all hearable frequencies. If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to sleep in a room that’s too quiet, you might have preferred to turn the fan on.
On the other side of the spectrum is pink noise, which emits a sound that’s lower on the higher end of frequency and higher on the lower end. Natural examples of pink noise are all around us in nature, such as rainfall, rustling trees, or waves lapping against the shoreline. Although there are plenty of noise machines for purchase, you can also save money by listening to white and pink noise playlists on YouTube or on music streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify.
Meditation is a useful sleep aid tactic. There are many benefits of meditation, primarily in its ability to relieve people with anxiety and depression. When you’re able to use meditation to reduce stress, you’re essentially attacking the root of the issue. Stress makes it difficult to sleep, and regular mindfulness meditation practice helps you learn how to cope with stress and gain better control over your autonomic nervous system and the “fight or flight” response your body gives. Meditation can also increase the sleep hormone melatonin and activate the areas of the brain responsible for sleep. If you’re new to meditation, you can start slow and easy with one of the several meditation apps available.
Keep a Sleep Schedule
When you have an erratic sleep schedule you never know when a good night’s sleep will come easy. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule helps you keep your internal clock on track and lessens the risk of disrupting your circadian rhythm. Pick a time to wake up and go to sleep, and be as diligent about those times as possible—even on your days off.
Keep in mind that making a big adjustment doesn’t just happen overnight, so it may take you a few days or even weeks to get accustomed to a new sleep schedule. If you stay up too late on one day, do your best to wake up on your scheduled time the next day. Power naps are perfectly fine as you adjust, and some experts even suggest power naps as a helpful and effective way to recharge.