7 Steps to Improve the Quality of Your Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important things you do for your health. It's not just about feeling refreshed in the morning - lack of sleep can cause serious issues with our mental and physical health. Having good sleep hygiene can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Looking to improve the quality of your sleep? Here are seven steps that can help.

Set a Consistent Dinner Time.

Be sure to have dinner a few hours before going to bed so you have time to digest your food. Eating a heavy meal before bed can cause you to have indigestion and disrupt sleep. (If you do get heartburn, try sleeping on your left side.) Inversely, eating too small of a meal can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night due to low blood sugar.

Create a Bed Time Routine.

Do the same things each night before bed. Having a routine will also help you fall asleep faster and get in the habit of going to bed at the same time each night. This might include taking a bath or reading a book in your favorite chair, but make sure it's something calming that will get you ready for sleep.

Put Away the Electronics.

Limit light exposure at least an hour before bedtime. This includes avoiding your phone and computer screens as they emit a lot of blue light which can affect the production of melatonin in your brain later on at night. We all love scrolling through social media before bed, but this simple act may be the reason you're having trouble falling asleep.

Limit the Amount of Light in Your Room.

Your pineal gland senses light. Even artificial light can trick your brain into thinking it's day time. This includes leaving the television on while you sleep. Keeping the lights low before bed can help you wind down. Blackout curtains or a sleep mask can help with blocking out unwanted light from the street.

Avoid Caffeine, Drink Green Tea.

Caffeine is an addictive substance that can cause sleep problems. It's best to avoid it if you have trouble sleeping. Green tea is a non-caffeinated tea that contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has calming effects on mood, cognition and levels of stress and anxiety. Hot tea also helps with digestion.

Avoid Stressful Activities.

Stress levels can fluctuate throughout the day. Engaging in stressful activities late at night may make it difficult to sleep well, or cause you to wake up during the night. It's better if these activities happen before bedtime and not after dark. Keep in mind, stressful movies or TV shows can have the same effects on your body.

Make Your Bedroom a Sacred Place.

Make your bedroom a sacred place, used only for sleeping and intimacy with your partner. As mentioned, avoid stressful activities, especially in your bedroom. You want your bedroom to be a place of rest and relaxation. If you have built the habit of scrolling social media or watching Netflix, try doing it on the couch at least an hour before bed.

Sleep is the foundation of good health. It is your job to create the best conditions for your body & mind to be ready to rest and to stay asleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to a wide range of health problems such as weight gain, stress and depression, risk for high blood pressure or heart disease. Other consequences are mood changes, cognitive impairment and lack of motivation.

If you are experiencing challenges with your sleep and would like to consult a doctor, please give us a call at 480.389-3265.

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