A new year, a new you, say the Resolutionists, as the year comes to a close. But few actually follow through on making it happen. A lot of this is because of unrealistic aspirations or lack of formulating a concrete plan to achieve them. So here at Connecticut Mattress, we’d like to help you formulate and achieve a realistic goal of which almost all of us could use some improvement: getting a better night’s sleep! First and foremost is recognizing specific difficulties that keep you, personally, from achieving that optimum eight hours or so of peaceful repose. If you’re not sure, keep an eye on the following issues that can help everyone establish better sleeping habits.
- Sleep Routine – One of the best ways to ensure your body will cooperate with a prescribed bedtime is by training it to know when it’s time to cash in. To accomplish this, establish a repeatable, regular pre-bedtime game plan of behaviors that alert your brain that sleep is imminent. This could include a nighttime beauty regime that you implement every night, reading a few chapters in a book, or taking a warm bath before hitting the hay. According to a recent study documented in Sleep Medicine Reviews, the latter alone, at temperatures between 104 to 109 degrees, can knock you out ten to fifteen minutes quicker than average and lead to better sleep quality. Laying these little stepping stones towards sleep will alert your brain to start prepping for repose.
- Environment – There are a few elements of your surroundings that you need to be conscientious of for when you’re not conscious. Your room should be as dark as possible, such that the natural melatonin your body generates kicks in to impart drowsiness; no sheep required. Also, the temperature of your room should be on the cool side. While this is somewhat variable due to personal preferences, studies have shown most people sleep better when their room is on the lower end of the heat spectrum.
- Pet-Free Sleeping Quarters – While it might sound cozy to snuggle up to your fur babies, it is actually contraindicated. Pets can exacerbate even mild allergies and breathing problems, and they may not share your same sleep requirements or timing. Their moving, scratching, and barking or purring can disrupt even the heaviest sleepers. Best leave Spot and Fluffy to their own beds and in their own space.
- Noise – Make sure your bedroom is as quiet as possible, which means turning off all devices and perhaps closing windows if you live in a noisy neighborhood. Even sounds to which you might think you are acclimated can cause sleep disturbances, so best keep anything audible to a minimum. A good pair of well-fitting earplugs can be a smart and inexpensive option, but if those don’t work for you, a white noise machine can also mimic the calm, peaceful silence ideal for sleeping.
- Read – Few people are immune to the somnolent effects of reading. Having a physical book on your bedside table is an effortless strategy to inspire sleepiness. Do NOT enlist the likes of an e-reader or tablet, however. The blue light emitted from these devices can wreak more havoc than the good of any poetry or prose. On that note, turn off ALL electronic devices, ideally an hour or so before bed, so their disruptive emissions are long gone before you hit the hay. If you rely on an alarm to wake up in the morning, get a good old-fashioned alarm clock. Your phone needs to be the furthest thing from your slumberous tranquility.
- Warm Drinks – Speaking of old-fashioned, that age-old therapy of a warm mug of milk with honey isn’t all in your head. While some sleep-inducing properties are psychological, that doesn’t necessarily make them any less valid. Your brain is what is going to sleep, after all. There is some scientific evidence proving the tryptophan in milk actually does encourage sleep. It’s an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which in turn gets converted to melatonin, a proven sleep-enhancer.
If you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution, you might as well make one that really will positively affect your life. And these easy hacks will make that goal not only attainable but enjoyable to implement. Except maybe if you’re used to sleeping with Fido, but remember you’ll both be better off as a result. Have a Happy New Year!