5 Great Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
There’s nothing like the feeling of waking up refreshed and ready to take on the day. You’re alert, energetic and looking forward to making the day count — carpe diem, seize the day and all that empowering stuff. Likewise, there’s hardly as awful a feeling as having to get out of bed in the morning without having slept well, or at all. Feeling sluggish, cranky, uninspired and simply dreading the day ahead.
You might think that sleep is just “down time”, but it’s so much more. Decades of study have brought new understanding by the scientific community as to what sleep actually “is” and does. We now know that sleep cycles through four different stages throughout the night following predictable patterns — as these four stages cycle through and start again several times during sleep.
The four stages of sleep are: Non-rem (NREM), encompassing stages one, two and three. And REM, which is stage four. Here is what happens:
Stage I: (NREM) Within minutes, or even seconds of nodding off, you go into a light sleep state. This stage lasts about 5-10 minutes. Heartbeat, breathing and eye movements slow. Muscles relax and brainwaves begin to slow.
Stage II: (NREM) Main body of light sleep where memory consolidation and synaptic pruning occur. Heart rate and breathing slow to lowest levels during sleep and body temperature drops, muscles relax even further. Eye movement stops. Brain wave activity is marked by brief bursts of electrical activity. Your body is preparing for a deeper sleep.
Stage III: (NREM) This is the deep sleep stage. If awoken, one would feel disoriented for a few minutes. During this stage, the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bona and muscle and strengthens the immune system. Slow waves on EEG readings.
Stage IIII: REM. Typically occurs 90 minutes after you fall asleep and lasts approximately 10 minutes. Each later REM stage becomes increasingly longer and the final one may last up to an hour. Eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyes. Heart rate and breathing quicken. Mixed frequency brain wave activity similar to wakefulness. Breathing becomes faster and irregular, heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels. Most vivid dreams happen at this stage. Arm and leg muscles become paralyzed which prevents you from acting out your dreams.
The National Institute of Health recommends most adults sleep 7 — 8 hours per night. Recent studies and surveys suggest the actual number of hours spent sleeping is 6. Significantly less than recommended, and potentially hazardous to your health, well-being and even safety. Not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep can can negatively impact all basic human function. From overall mental performance, learning, decision-making, job performance, mood, and human interaction, to physical deficiencies like lowered immune system capability. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and other medical conditions.
Driving or operating motorized equipment while sleep deprived can be hazardous or even be deadly as lack of sleep inhibits reaction time to a change in road condition, or a vehicle suddenly breaking in front of you and other potentially dangerous situations.
The NIH states: “We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. In fact, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are very active when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night’s sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problemsolving. Skimping on sleep has a price. Cutting back by even 1 hour can make it tough to focus the next day and can slow your response time.”
If you’re having trouble sleeping, or you simply don’t allow enough time in your schedule to sleep, you are not alone. The CDC states that 35% of adult Americans, that’s 1 in 3 people — or put another way, more than a third — are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
There are many factors, both internal and external, that can effect your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Stress, anxiety, too much alcohol or caffeine intake, medications and physical pain are all typical internal issues. Then there’s your environment. It’s too bright, too hot, too cold, your partner snores, your sheets are rough, you just had to watch one more episode of your favorite Netflix series, your mattress is saggy, or maybe you just don’t have the right pillow.
Does this sound like you?
Based on the statistics, one out of every three of you reading this article does not get enough sleep. With a subject as important as your health and the safety of yourself and others, can you afford to ignore these statistics?
Below is an outline of tips and recommendations I’ve put together to help you get the best night’s sleep possible. From creating YOUR perfect bedtime ritual to purchasing the RIGHT pillow.
Tip 1: Create a Bedtime Ritual
The first step in developing an effective bedtime ritual is to choose the specific time you can commit to being in bed, ready to sleep. From there, work your way backward to create the steps that will lead to optimum relaxation. For instance, you may like taking a shower, reading a book, or listening to music before bedtime.
Here is an example routine if you’d like to be sleeping by 10:00PM:
10:00PM bedtime — in bed, lights off
9:30 — 10:00PM —read
9:00 — 9:30 — shower/bath/general hygiene
9:00PM — all electronics turned off
Following this routine every night, including weekends will create a rhythm that your body and mind will come to respond to and rely on.
Tip 2: Turn off Electronics — AT LEAST 30 minutes Before Bedtime
The national sleep foundation states the following: "The closer to bedtime that a person uses electronic devices, the harder it is to fall asleep or stay asleep. Besides increasing your alertness at a time when you should be getting sleepy, which in turn delays your bedtime, using these devices before turning in delays the onset of REM sleep, reduces the total amount of REM sleep, and compromises alertness the next morning. Over time, these effects can add up to a significant, chronic deficiency in sleep.” Click here to read full article.
This is because any electronic device — TV’s, laptops, tablets and smartphones all emit short-wavelength artificial blue light — which interferes with your body’s circadian rhythm by suppressing the sleep-inducing hormone Melatonin. So, if you want to sleep, you’ll have to re-examine your binge-watching habit.
Tip 3: Exercise Daily
Study after study tells us that the positive effects of exercise on overall health as well as healthy sleep are indisputable. Various factors including change in body temperature, reduction of arousal and anxiety, and even a timing shift in circadian rhythm all play a part in helping with better sleep. Even one afternoon walk can change the outcome of that evening’s sleep! So why not add exercise to your day!
Tip 4: Avoid Alcohol and Late-Day Caffeine Intake and Even Nicotine
Caffeine is a stimulant and can effect both the time you fall asleep as well as the duration of your sleep. It is recommended to cut caffeine out at least 6 hours before bedtime. As for alcohol, while you may fall asleep faster, studies show that your REM — the most mentally restorative stage of sleep — is reduced. Shorter REM stage can result in daytime drowsiness, poor concentration and memory function. Nicotine is also a stimulant. So in addition to the other serious health implications, smoking can also effect your sleep quality.
Tip 5: Treat Yourself to The Perfect Pillow™
Chances are your pillow is not what it should be. Sleeping with the right pillow will provide you the highest level of comfort to ensure your critical sleep.
To that end, I’d like to introduce you to Luxe & Luna™ — a new brand of bedding providing the healthiest and most natural, non-toxic solutions for your bedding. Luxe & Luna™ products are made in America from predominantly American-sourced materials, free of toxic chemicals and certified to the Oeko-Tex 100 Global Standard. The American and European-sourced down is certified RDS.
The flagship product is aptly named…The Perfect Pillow™, hand-crafted with great pride right here in the U.S.A. You’ll get the sleep you need and the quality & purity you deserve — it's the best pillow you'll ever sleep with — guaranteed. Here's why:
- A sumptuous blend of 50% White Duck Down mixed with 50% Small White Duck Feather.
- 280 thread count 100% cotton cambric shell.
- Classic double-stitched seam with strengthening and decorative piping.
- Down proof so your feathers stay in your pillow where they belong.
- Your Perfect Pillow™ will come with a Certificate of Authenticity so you will know you have purchased and original, hand-crafted in America, Luxe & Luna™ pillow.
The down is triple-washed and de-dusted making this pillow guaranteed hypoallergenic and perfect for allergy sufferers.
100% Safe — Free of Harmful Chemicals So you Can "Rest Assured”
Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Certified. Tested and assured to be free of all harmful substances and certified to the strict global criteria of Oeko-Tex®.
100% Hand-Crafted in America
Made exclusively for Luxe & Luna™ and sold online exclusively by livewell.
Choosing the healthiest pillow is essential, but so is choosing the right pillow for how you sleep.
Are You a Stomach Sleeper?
If you are a stomach sleeper, our LIGHT FILL pillow is the best solution to allow the head to sink to just the right level.
Are You a Side and Back Sleeper?
The MEDIUM fill pillow is recommended for both SIDE and BACK sleepers who prefer a medium density fill — not to little, not too much) to cushion the head.
Are You a Back Sleeper?
The FIRM pillow is recommended for BACK (and SIDE)sleepers who prefer a denser fill for a more elevated support for the head and neck.
I hope you find these important sleep tips helpful. I also recommend keeping a daily journal, notating the changes you are making and how you are feeling each day after you wake up.
Important Note: This article is written to address lifestyle issues that may effect healthy sleep habits and not intended to give medical advice of any kind. If you feel your sleep issues are more serious than those noted above, you should consult your doctor.
- Anne Vogel