Has your sleep been out of control lately? Or at least changed since the pandemic? We’re right there with you. With worries and uncertainty lingering around, we can expect our routines to change whether we like it or not. That doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions to fix worsening sleep issues. Here are some tips for getting your best night’s sleep.
Proper sleep etiquette
Let’s start with the basics: what does proper sleep even look like? For one, going through a full sleep cycle is key in ensuring a better night’s sleep. Here are the stages of sleep that everyone should aim for every night.
- Stage one: Beginning with a slow down phase that ideally lasts around five to ten minutes. This is where our bodies and minds relax and allow us to feel drowsy.
- Stage two: The second wave includes decreased brain and muscle activity and more so prepares our minds to head into a deep sleep.
- Stage three and four: In our “slow-wave sleep”, it becomes more difficult to wake up. Most things in our body are fully relaxed. This includes our breathing rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. An important stage for our physical health as this is when our bodies mostly recover in our sleep.
- Stage five: Otherwise known as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The REM cycle should occur approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep. REM cycles activate our brains to create dreams, memories, and long-term information.
Keep in mind that as we age our sleep cycles change. Kids usually spend more time in the REM stage as they are developing more memories. Whereas adults often reside in stages three and four due to the fact that we need more physical recovery time. We all differ regardless. Simply knowing what the sleep cycle looks like is step one to finding quality sleep.
Relaxing bedroom environment
An important factor in getting through your full sleep cycle is having a comfortable and sleep-inducing environment. Sounds simple, but it’s often overlooked. Everyone usually has different preferences. If you haven’t found your perfect bedroom setting; start with a cool, dark, and quiet environment. This calming sleep environment reminds our brains that it’s time to settle and wind down for the day.
Other methods to create a better sleep environment include:
- Using white noise machines to deter unexpected sounds while sleeping
- Sleeping with high-quality bedding that best suits your local climate
- Introducing fresh and relaxing scents such as lavender or even opening a window
Staying active is a great way to secure a good night’s sleep. In an attempt to get the best quality sleep, exercising in the morning or afternoon is ideal. The Sleep Foundation suggests that adults get around 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. However, they note that even 10 minutes a day of walking, swimming, or biking can improve your sleep quality.
Eliminate mid-sleep disruptors
For the people who often wake up in the middle of their slumber, finding the why and solving that can almost guarantee improved sleep habits. Sometimes it can be as simple as the need to pee or as serious as brain and nerve diseases. Some more common reasons why people wake up in the middle of their sleep include:
- Body pain from general work stress
- Digestive issues involving acid reflux and irritable bowels
- Hormone imbalance, especially for women going through their periods or menopause
- Psychological causes including depression and anxiety
- Breathing issues like snoring
For the most part, finding fixes for a majority of the above problems can best be reduced with the help of a doctor. Issues involving the digestive tract, body pain, and breathing are much simpler to deal with. Why? Because there are numerous amounts of over the counter products that can help. For physical pain, there are anti-inflammatory lotions and medications. On the other hand, digestive issues can be solved by consuming chamomile tea and avoiding irritants like alcohol before bed. Lastly, snoring solutions like air purifiers, CPAPs, or our Good Morning Snore Solution mouthpiece can offer clear airways that lead to your best night’s sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night is common. Thankfully, for all the varying problems comes many solutions!
Set up a sleep and wake schedule
Setting up a sleep and wake time may seem irrelevant, but in fact, it can make all the difference. With a consistent bedtime, our internal clocks easily regulate our sleep times and quality. Better yet, a schedule can eventually lead to the same wake times – no need for annoying alarms!
Looking for ways to get started with a sleep and wake routine? Here’s a good starting point:
- Turn off the electronics and get rid of any stimulating surroundings
- Write down when you are planning to sleep and wake
- If you can’t sleep, leave the room and do a calming activity
- If you need a nap, do it during the afternoon and for less than 30 minutes
- Adjust gradually (1-2 hour intervals) if sleep schedule changes
Getting a good night’s sleep with our brains constantly wired can be tough. Knowing what a normal sleep cycle involves, having a calm bedroom environment, staying active, and finding snoring solutions can likely improve your sleep.