6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Sleep

In these hectic modern times it often seems as if rest and relaxation have been relegated from necessities to luxuries. The hours we put in at work may be shorter than those of our parents’ but the statistics belie the fact that, with the explosion in connectivity thanks to smart phones, laptops and tablets, we’re operating at a higher level for longer hours than ever before.

We’re connected to the world from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep, and for many people this has led to a serious reduction in sleep. In fact, in just the last decade the average number of hours we sleep each night fell from 7 to 6.5. A century ago we slept for 9 hours each night.

This trend shows no sign of reversing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we all have to live in a constant fog of sleep deprived confusion. Man’s technology continues to work towards improving our sleeping experience. But technology aside, even with the few hours of sleep you manage to snatch each night you still could wake up in the morning feeling rested and ready for the day. Why? Well, simply because there’s a difference between sleep and GOOD sleep.

With just a few small changes to your routine you can make the most of your brief time in bed, giving yourself more energy throughout the day and a whole new outlook on life. Here are just six simple rules to help you get a restful night’s sleep.

Drink in Sunlight

Throughout the day your body produces a chemical compound called melatonin that, among other things, makes you sleepy, and one of the main reasons we need to sleep is to dissipate the melatonin buildup in our bodies.

Melatonin production is inhibited by exposure to sunlight, so if you want to reduce the amount of sleep you need to feel refreshed you should make sure to get at least a solid two hours of exposure to daylight each day. Throw open the curtains; have lunch outside; walk to work instead of driving, and don’t wear sunglasses unless you really need them. Regular artificial light doesn’t inhibit production, so even in a brightly lit room you’ll still be producing melatonin.

Avoid Stimulants

Many people steer clear of caffeine in the evenings, but that may not be enough to ensure restful sleep. The effects of caffeine can persist for up to 12 hours, so if you really want to make the most of your sleep you should avoid coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks any time after lunch.

Smoking also acts as a stimulant, so while that final cigarette before bed may feel relaxing it will also affect the quality of your sleep.

Plan Your Meal Times

Digestion slows at night, and if you eat your evening meal within three hours of bedtime your body will still be working hard to digest it. And while it’s best to avoid eating a heavy meal close to bedtime it’s just as important not to try to sleep on an empty stomach. Peanuts, tuna and turkey make for an excellent late night snack as each of these foods contain tryptophan, which encourages the production of serotonin to help you sleep soundly.

Disconnect

The hours before bedtime should be a period in which your mind and body gently wind down towards sleep, so you should try to limit exposure to anything that will ramp up physical and mental activity. These after all are among the popular causes of chronic sleep deprivation. Exercise should be completed several hours before sleep, and you should do your best to stay away from the Internet, TV and radio as you’re preparing for bed. Any new information will fire up your mind, and you’ll reset the clock on your journey towards sleep.

Buy a New Mattress

Most people who have problems getting a restful night of sleep could benefit from a new high end memory foam mattress and bedding. After five years of regular use, your mattress will have sustained damages at the stress points where your hips and shoulders are supported, and while you probably won’t have sharp springs protruding through the fabric you’ll certainly have lost little yet vital and healthful support.

Today’s modern beds are more advanced than ever, and you’re sure to find one that suits your sleeping position and body type better.

Sleep in Darkness

When it’s finally time to go to bed you need to make sure that your mind understands that you’re entering a ‘no-stimulation’ zone. All lights should be switched off or covered, from the ceiling light to your bedside lamps to the LED readout on your alarm clock to the blinking battery indicator on your laptop. Any source of light can keep your brain active, but in complete darkness your mind will shut down much more quickly and completely.

Getting quality sleep constantly is very important. According to experts from CleanFlash, manufacturer of top-quality CPAP and BiPAP Machine Cleaners, sleep deprivation may affect your heart and blood vessel functions, may cause respiratory problems, and may cause you longer to recover from common illnesses.

The most important thing to remember is that the number of hours you sleep isn’t as important as the quality of that sleep. Nine hours of tossing and turning will leave you irritable, foggy and exhausted in the morning, but just six hours of deep, restful sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Make every hour count and you’ll be a happier, healthier person.