One of the greatest feelings is waking up after a good night sleep without any interruptions! 7-8 hours of sleep has been said to be optimal, and new research shows that getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can lead to weight gain. Here are a few tips to help you optimize your sleep and feel more energized during the day.
Good Bedding: A medium-firm pillow is optimal as it supports your head but does not bury it. Also consider a non-allergenic foam pillow as down or dust mites are common allergens. Throw your pillow in the dryer every few months to kill dust mites, and remember to replace your pillow every few years. In terms of bedding, try mattresses at the store by spending 5 minutes on either side, and consider stores where you can take a mattress home for a sleep test.
Light Therapy: A specifically designed full-spectrum of lights has been shown to help people get to sleep earlier and stay asleep longer. The theory is that regular exposure to such light in the morning triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that keeps your body clock on a regular schedule. Light therapy works wonders for people who find it difficult to fall asleep before midnight and have low energy in the morning.
Dark Therapy: Remove computers, televisions and even digital clocks from your room as the blue light emitted can disrupt circadian rhythms and keep you awake. Cover blue light objects at night if they must stay in your room, but aim for a pitch dark room for optimal sleeping.
Behavioural Therapy: When you can’t fall asleep, worrying about lack of sleep will make things worse. Only go to bed when you feel tired to avoid lying awake. If you go to bed and cannot sleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed. Try meditation or take a hot bath.
Avoid activities in bed such as watching t.v, eating, planning and problem solving and keep them outside of the bedroom.
Acupuncture: In China, acupuncture has been used successfully for thousands of years to treat sleep problems. Research suggests that it may help balance neurotransmitters and promotes relaxation, which results in better quality sleep. Consult with your health provider.
Along with the suggestions above, proper diet, exercise and stress control are also very important when it comes to getting a good night sleep. Nutritional supplements can also help sleep but it is important to consult your doctor before taking anything.
By Sarah Bamber