Getting an excellent night’s sleep is critical to feeling at your best. Not only does it reduce your body’s ability to regenerate itself when lacking sleep, but it leads to increased tiredness too.
Here are 5 things that may be preventing you from getting quality rest.
A lumpy or non-supportive pillow is a major impediment to getting an excellent night of rest.
There are many types of pillows to choose from depending on whether you’re a side, front or back sleeper. Different amounts of elevation are required with greater pillow padding or fill to achieve it. Specially shaped pillows better support the neck for people with issues in this regard due to whiplash or damage in this area.
When it comes to pillows, be sure to get a good one to support your sleep requirements.
Failing to Get Enough Natural Light
Several studies, including this one from PubMed Central, have confirmed the need for at least a couple of hours of bright illumination during daytime hours to get increased sleep at night.
It was determined that exposure to brighter light sources in the daytime added up to two hours more sleep a night. Also, it made the sleep more valuable from a rest standpoint.
Go for a walk during your lunch break or do so after work to include more natural light in your day.
Too Much Caffeine Later in the Day
While it’s tempting to consume more caffeine in the late afternoon to keep yourself motoring along until past 5 pm, the reality is that it has a half-life of from 3 to 5 hours after it hits the body, and reaches the blood in 30-60 minutes. Therefore, a 4 pm coffee fix can still be keeping you awake in the mid-evening.
If you’re also exercising at the gym some evenings and rely on an energy drink to get a better workout in, then any beverage with caffeine will not leave your system until the twilight hours.
Both approaches need adjustment to avoid continuing to make getting off to sleep a real struggle.
Believing that Catching Up on Sleep Is Viable
The idea that you can be sleep deprived during the week, function well and then catch up on the weekend by sleeping 10-12 hours isn’t supported by research. It has been found that it’s an ineffective strategy.
When you go through the week getting 5-6 hours instead of 7-8 hours of sleep, by Thursday or Friday, you’ll notice that you’re flagging badly. This also leads to more mistakes and extra time necessary to fix them. It’s much better to get a better night’s rest every night than suffer work performance issues and then need to sleep longer on the weekends with your free time.
Find a better balance with your sleep pattern to have a more energetic week.
Allowing Too Little Time to Wind Down First
With the fast-paced nature of life, we often are busy right up to when we do go to sleep. Whether this is because we were watching the latest drama on Netflix, exercising, or were busy with another activity, when our body or mind is moving rapidly, it’s difficult to calm it back down again.
Your body needs time to be at rest. Your brain also requires a bit of chill time to slow itself to the point where peaceful sleep is possible. When there’s too much activity, it cannot easily get to a stage where it’s possible to even fall asleep.
Give yourself at least a half-hour of intentional slowing down. That might be a calming nighttime routine between climbing into bed or reading an enjoyable book.
When you believe that better sleep patterns are possible, try to take steps to stop your actions from getting in the way of it happening for you. It may take a few days to get into the right space, but once you’re not sabotaging the need for rest, it’ll occur much more easily.