If you're finding it difficult to get out of bed every morning, or if you're always feeling cranky and sore for the first few hours of your day, it's time to reevaluate your sleeping habits. Scientists, doctors, and psychologists who specialize in sleep research have proven that a good night's rest every night yields various physical and mental benefits.
It has been shown that sufficient sleep improves your mood and cognitive ability, reduces stress, strengthens your immune system, speeds up injury recovery, and so much more. If you have ever felt overly stressed, constantly fatigued, finding difficultly in paying attention, or just generally feeling "off", a lack of sleep could be the culprit. Harvard Medical School has an insightful set of articles regarding the benefits of good sleep.
But what is considered "good sleep"? If you'd like to reap the benefits of sleep, aim to have restful, uninterrupted slumber that lasts between 8 to 10 hours every day. So this means that even if you're spending a third of your day in bed, you may not be getting efficient rest. Below are 7 different ways of optimizing your sleep such that you feel rested and refreshed the next morning!
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that promotes alertness and reduces drowsiness. As a critical component in coffee and energy drinks, it's no wonder that we are not ourselves until we have our morning brew.
The trade-off to caffeine is that too much, too late in the day will affect our ability to fall asleep. Research has shown that a 16-oz cup of coffee has up to 500mg of caffeine and that even drinking a cup of coffee 6 hours before bed can affect your body's sleep clock.
So a shot of espresso with your afternoon lunch is great but avoid having any caffeinated drinks after two in the afternoon!
Humans are naturally habitual beings. Going to bed and waking up at a consistent time every day (this includes weekends!) will increase your chances of getting efficient sleep. Setting a bedtime and waking up to an alarm every day may be bitter medicine to some, but in a couple of weeks, the payoff will be worth it.
With a consistent sleep schedule, your body will naturally begin to feel sleepy a couple of hours before bed, and you'll find it easier to wake up without an alarm the next morning. This is primarily due to your body's natural sleep clock or circadian rhythm.
Studies have shown that blue light blocks the production of melatonin, a natural hormone also known as the "sleep hormone" and it is responsible for making us feel sleepy in the evening. Screens from our phones, TVs, tablets, and computers all produce high amounts of blue light and using these screens right before going to bed is essentially exposing ourselves to sleep hormone blockers.
Cutting off exposure to blue light an hour before bed allows your body to produce the necessary amounts of melatonin required to feel sleepy. Prime yourself for bed by listening to relaxing music or reading a book instead. If you cannot avoid using screens late in the evening, there are many blue light filters on the App Store that filters out blue light, making browsing on your phone easier on your eyes and body.
Along with a consistent sleep routine, designating your bed to be exclusively for sleep will have a psychological effect on your brain. You want to condition your mind to feel sleepy when you are laying in bed. Doing activities that stimulate your mind in bed like browsing social media or watching Netflix is essentially associating bed as an active space instead of a space to rest.
People who sleep well usually feel sleepy as soon as they snuggle up under the covers primarily because their mind associates the bed as a sleep only zone.
This may be an obvious suggestion but many people still get it wrong! Sensory deprivation calms the mind and allows it to slip into a sleepy trance. A leaky tap or a dog barking outside your window may trick your brain into thinking that there is danger nearby, consequentially keeping your mind and senses alert while it should be resting.
Instead, sleep in a dark room by investing in black out blinds, or buy a white noise machine to drown out unwanted noises. This puts your mind at ease, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
If you're suffering from a physical injury, protect yourself by wearing one of Copper Compression's night brace which effectively prevents you from further injuring yourself while you're trying to catch some Zzz's.
Love the sensation of snuggling up under the covers when it's cold outside? Science has shown that the ideal room temperature to sleep in is between 60°F and 67°F.
Wearing breathable clothing that regulates your body temperature also helps keep your body cool and prevents it from overheating while you're asleep. Avoid waking up to hot flashes in the middle of the night when you have pajamas that effectively allows your body heat to escape. Check out some of Copper Compression's lounge-wear that is perfect to sleep in, or our Copper Pillowcase that ensure you have a cool and comfortable snooze.
Foods rich with complex sugars and fats are difficult for your body to break down. This means that even when you're asleep, your body is still hard at work digesting the carbs and sugars from the burger you had for dinner.
Skip the junk food and keep your alcohol intake to a minimum, especially right before bed. What's more, a healthy diet comes with many other benefits like better weight management and overall mood improvement!
Finally, if you spend more than 30 minutes in bed and can't seem to fall asleep, don't waste your time laying in bed. Instead, get up do a non-intensive activity like reading a book or listening to a sleepy podcast and try again later. Going to bed isn't as easy as 3, 2, 1, *snap*. Allow your body to gradually ease itself into sleep.
Hope you find these suggestions helpful. It may take awhile to apply these lifestyle changes but trust us when we say it'll be worth the effort!