Snoozing. Napping. Dozing. Counting Zs. Catching 40 winks. There exists a rather long list of words that mean sleep, ranging from the romantic sound of slumber to the more military sack time.
Whatever you call this restful state, the common denominator is that we all need it, but do we get enough, and is it acceptable? When talking about the quality of life, sleep ranks rather high when evaluating what is healthy. Sleep is needed for our bodies to function and our minds to stay alert. If this area of your life is lacking, there are some easy steps to take to ensure you have a deep night’s sleep.
Where Do You Sleep?
Sometimes indulging in a quick cat nap in your favorite recliner feels like a treat, but it is not the optimal spot for the restful hours that keep you running at full capacity.
Your bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary, from the color of your walls to the thread count of your sheets. Choose color palettes that are calming and tranquil, like soft blues and greens, which are often equated with water and nature. Avoid bright or garish colors like red or orange, which have a tendency to trigger stress responses - the opposite of what you need before attempting quality sleep.
Assess your mattress and your bed linens. Do you prefer a harder sleep surface, or do you like something with a little more cushion? Investing in a quality mattress conducive to your comfort preferences is not a luxury; it is a necessity for sleeping well.
In addition, linens and pillows play a major role. Do you like crisp, cotton sheets or the cozy softness of flannel? Think about your sleep positions; are you a back sleeper or a side sleeper? The answer to this question can impact the firmness of the pillows you choose.
Additionally, sleep is a chance to declutter the mind, so your bedroom should reflect the same kind of environment. Remove extraneous objects, piles of laundry, or other things that can interfere with your approach to calm and simplicity.
Pay attention to the temperature in your room and to the amount of light that can filter in. A room that is too hot or cold or windows that allow unwanted light can factor into how well you sleep. There are numerous ways you can make modifications to your bedroom. Just a few simple changes can make a big difference in you feeling tired or well-rested.
It’s All in the Timing
When you sleep and for how long affects your sleep quality. Do you know how much sleep you need to feel rested and alert? Most adults need an average of eight hours per night but sometimes miss the mark. To get the sleep that is right for you, begin a more structured schedule. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. Our bodies adjust to this kind of routine which reinforces a healthy cycle of sleep and wakefulness.
A Midnight Snack Isn’t the Answer
A tasty treat before bed might sound satisfying but doesn’t contribute to sleeping well. Being too full or too hungry makes you aware of the discomfort of each, interrupting your sleep schedule. Additionally, things like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are mood-altering and can prevent you from falling asleep or can cause disturbances throughout your night’s sleep cycle. It is wise to avoid drinks like soda, coffee, tea, and alcohol, as well as not smoking cigarettes in the hours before bed.
Your diet can play a big part in your energy levels and ability to sleep. Making healthy adjustments to the foods you eat can be as simple as baking with gluten-free flour instead of regular flour. Some of the healthiest flour for baking tastes just as good as the unhealthy versions, so the struggle of how to make healthy food taste good is easier to avoid than you may think.
Creating a Clear, Stress-Free Mind
Before you laugh and roll your eyes, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact of the things that keep you up at night. No one thing can eliminate the stress we all feel on a daily basis, but there are practices you can add to your nightly routine to help improve your sleeping.
A warm - not hot - shower or bath infused with calming essential oils like lavender is relaxing, allowing your body to prepare for rest. Deep breathing exercises, as well as meditation, are beneficial in clearing your mind and letting stress diffuse - even for just a little while.
Turn off your screens. Your computer and smartphone both emit blue light, which affects sleep. Remember, you are trying to turn your mind off, not engage it with more information.
Quality sleep is achievable with some effort in making environmental, dietary, and physical changes. Think about your sleeping routine and environment. A few impactful adjustments will make hours of quality sleep more than just a dream.
To aid in a good night's rest, try making small, sustainable changes to your diet by trying some of the healthiest flour for baking. With gluten-free flour, you don't have to worry about how to make healthy food taste good. Baking with gluten-free flour does not change the flavor or the texture of your baked goods, so you can enjoy all the foods you love guilt-free.