There is perhaps nothing more important for the health of your mind and body than consistently getting a good night’s sleep. This is the only time the body gets to truly slow down and relax, and you owe it to yourself and get a good night’s sleep every night.
It’s particularly important for your heart. Even though it keeps beating after you close your eyes, it benefits from the fall in your blood pressure which happens when you drift off to dreamland.
To ensure that you get the maximum benefit out of your sleep, consider the below pointers for ensuring a deep and relaxing sleep every night. There is nothing worse than tossing and turning, and these simple routines can help you wake up feeling rejuvenated.
Bedroom = Sleep Only
Our lives are filled with more distractions than ever. It can be tempting to hang that old TV in the bedroom, so you can curl up and fall sleep to the game. But with distractions in the bedroom, just say no. This means avoiding work, phone calls, televisions, social media and computers in your bedroom. The light from these screens make it harder to fall asleep, confusing your body’s internal clock. The visual cues will furthermore keep you intrigued, and awake, when you should be winding down.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
The environment in your bedroom has a big impact on your sleep. For one, darkness enhances sleep, so the more you can create a dark room, the better. Turn off everything that makes noise. Keep the thermostat cool, as a cool room induces sleep. If you toss and turn, consider going to look at different pillows and mattress pads. Pets can sometimes bring the same problem that children do, making noise, shifting and squirming. Consider trying your pets sleeping elsewhere.
Bedtime can be a rushed affair. You watch your favorite shows, and when the clock hits bedtime, you quickly brush your teeth and hop into bed. You then wait impatiently for sleep to happen. Instead, try a short relaxation routine leading up to falling asleep. Breathe slowly and deeply after you get into bed, concentrating on relaxing one muscle at a time. It may seem silly, but say a short relaxing mantra in your head a few times. Try not to obsess about falling asleep, which may cause your brain to become overly engaged. If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, try reading a book for a few minutes with a dim light.
Make a Routine, and Stick to It
Have a time that you go to bed and a time you wake up every day. It can be tempting to sleep in on weekends, but the more you can stick to your routine every day, the better and ensures natural sleep rhythms.
Avoid Food, Drinks or Activities that may interfere with sleep
Certain things just aren’t good for sleep. For instance, alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but causes problems in your sleep later in the night. Caffeine, and spicy or acidic foods, and interfere with a good night’s sleep. Physical activity can do great things for a deep sleep, BUT exercising right before bed can have the opposite effect stimulating your body and mind and leaving you tossing and turning.
If these techniques don’t help, and you still find yourself waking up exhausted, you might benefit from seeing a sleep specialist. Sleep studies can help identify any underlying causes that may be leading to bad sleep. While it can be inconvenient to engage in a sleep study, it can have a lasting positive impact on your heart health.
Talk to your primary care provider if you are having trouble sleeping. Use our Find a Doctor tool to find a provider near you and make an appointment today.