It’s well-known that a good night’s sleep is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, we can’t seem to get the shut-eye we need.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to poor sleep. Some of them may be out of your control, but there are a few factors that you can change to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Your Bedroom is Too Hot
Warmer temperatures can be overly-stimulating and negatively impact your slow-wave and rapid eye movement sleep stages. Humid heat can worsen this effect and further disrupt your attempt at a good night of sleep.
Optimal room temperatures for sleep are between 66-70°F (15.5-19.4°C). So if you find yourself tossing and turning at night, try adjusting the thermostat or turning on a fan to cool down your bedroom.
Your Evening is Too Bright
Your body’s internal clock is primarily regulated by the light and darkness you’re exposed to. Light in your eyes tells your nervous system to be alert for the daytime, while darkness and dimness trigger the production of the sleep hormone melatonin to prepare for rest.
To help promote better sleep, try dimming the lights in your home a few hours before bedtime. It would help if you also were mindful of your TV, cell phone, computers, and tablets. Too much screen time at night can inhibit melatonin production and keep you awake.
Too Much Stress in Your Body and Mind
Stress does more than wear you out emotionally. It can also lead to physical problems such as headaches, muscle pain, gastrointestinal issues, and difficulty sleeping.
Stress may also lead to unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms such as excessive snacking, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs. These might help you feel better in the moment, but they will ultimately make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep.
To reduce stress, try incorporating some relaxation techniques into your nightly routine. This could be as simple as reading a book or taking a bath. You could also try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
Not Enough Physical Activity During the Day
An active day can create a restful night. Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, regulate your body temperature, and tire you out physically, so you’re ready for sleep.
Intense, heart-pumping workouts are great during the day, and gentler, more restorative activities like yoga or stretching can be beneficial at night.
Not Enough Positive Social Activity
Strained social relationships or a lack of social support can lead to increased stress and anxiety and a greater tendency for sleep troubles.
Conversely, strong social ties have been linked with more restful sleep. So make time to be present with your friends and family, and nurture those relationships as best you can.