For many, in addition to exercise and a balanced diet, the amount of good quality sleep is a key factor in maintaining a person’s mental and physical health. Unfortunately, busy and stressful lifestyles often result in disrupted and poor quality sleep which can lead to both short and long-term adverse consequences in people’s personal and professional lives.
The short-term effects of poor quality sleep include:
Occasionally struggling to fall or stay asleep at night is a common occurrence for many people. However, regularly getting poor quality sleep for prolonged periods is thought to increase the risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and strokes.
As people get older, natural changes occur in their sleeping patterns, although at any age, quality of sleep can be affected by various factors including distractions from electronics, illnesses, mental health conditions, noise pollution, stress from family or work life, trauma, or an uncomfortable bed.
Although poor quality sleep can result in a range of mental and physical problems which may damage personal and work lives, there are several ways to improve the quality of your sleep which you can read more about below.
Make Your Bed More Comfortable
For those who prefer to change their resting or sleeping position often, adjustable electric beds with two or more motor-operated hinges are a good choice. When shopping around for the best adjustable beds it is worth checking out their remote control features, mattress type, and customer reviews. Adjustable beds can particularly improve the quality of sleep for people who suffer from acid reflux, back pain, sleep apnea, and snoring.
A common cause of poor quality sleep is an uncomfortable bed which can also aggravate or cause aches and pains. The choice of mattress is often down to personal preferences, as some people find softer mattresses to those of a firmer design.
When it comes to choosing the right mattress that best matches your sleeping position, there are many varieties to consider, the different designs of mattresses include:
Innersprung; an affordable option manufactured with layers of metal coils and foam that allows for good airflow
Latex; made from responsive natural or synthetic materials that provide a good amount of bounce and cooling
Memory foam; provides support by molding around the contours of the body
Hybrid; a combination of commonly used designs
Waterbed; an alternative bed design ideal for those who suffer from allergies, back pain, or arthritis
Cushions & Pillows
One of the major causes of poor quality sleep is an uncomfortable pillow, this can affect the alignment of the body and lead to neck and back strains. Without a good quality pillow that supports the right sleeping posture, the neck and shoulders are resting at an angle leading to craning, crunching, and twisting.
Ideally, pillows should be replaced at least once a year as they lose their form and start to give less support in addition to collecting dead skin cells and being a breeding ground for fungus and mold which can cause allergic reactions. Typically, natural pillows will last much longer than those made from synthetic materials.
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
If you are looking to improve the quality of your sleep, it is important to have a comfortable and relaxing bedroom. To get the best sleep all electronic devices should be out of reach and the bedroom should be kept cool, dark, and quiet. To create a relaxing atmosphere some people also choose to play natural background sounds such as the rain.
Keep To a Bedtime Routine
Oftentimes the root cause of sleep problems is the activities someone did hours before actually trying to fall asleep. Before bed, the body starts to create the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, however, this process can be sped up by creating and strictly following a bedtime routine starting several hours earlier.
Key elements of a sleep-promoting bedtime routine include:
Avoiding using electronic devices such before or in bed as they increase brain activity and slow down the release of melatonin
Toning down the lighting throughout the evening
Cutting out or limiting the intake of alcohol and coffee
Doing a relaxing activity at least thirty minutes before getting into bed to achieve the right state of mind, some examples are listening to soft music, reading, or doing yoga.
Not eating before bed
Set a Regular Sleep Schedule
Following a healthy sleep schedule is an important factor in maintaining good quality sleep and health in general. There are certain improvements people can implement to create a sleep schedule that ensures a perfect night’s sleep, these include:
Getting out of bed at the same time every day of the week
Making sure you go to bed early enough to get the recommended amount of 8 hours of undisturbed sleep per night
Only napping for short periods of 20-30 minutes in the early afternoon if necessary
Eat a Healthy Diet
The food someone eats has a big effect on their health and that includes the quality of their sleep. To help improve the quality of sleep you get, a nutritional diet that is balanced and varied is recommended to provide the right amount of each mineral and vitamin.
There are in fact certain drinks and foods that promote healthy sleep such as almonds, chamomile tea, kiwi fruit, fatty fish, and dairy products.
Work Out More
Another way to improve the quality of your sleep is to increase the amount of regular exercise you are doing. Daily light to medium intensity exercise helps to reduce the risk of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer by promoting healthy physical and mental functions.
The main benefit of exercising a few hours before bed is that it usually helps people to fall asleep faster and experience deeper sleep. To have the most effect on sleep quality, it is recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
Not getting enough sleep can cause short-term problems that are usually easily relieved after catching up with sleep. However, when sleep deprivation becomes a common occurrence it can increase the risk of more serious mental or physical health conditions. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve the quality of your sleep such as by exercising more, getting a new mattress, making changes to your diet, or setting a new routine.
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