Most of us know about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Yet sleep deprivation is a growing issue, whether due to insomnia or people simply being too busy. Sacrificing sleep has negative consequences for our health and wellbeing, both immediately and in the long-run. Losing even relatively small amounts of sleep or adopting an inconsistent sleeping pattern is enough to affect everything from memory to impulse control, mood to physical appearance, and concentration to immune resistance. If you think you could benefit from improved sleep, read on for some helpful tips you might not have considered before.
Track and Improve Your Sleep Using Apps
There are plenty of mobile apps on the market to help you get a good night’s sleep, whether through monitoring and identifying areas for improvement or simply through helping induce relaxation. If you tend to wake up groggy, try Sleep Cycle, an intelligent bio-alarm clock that uses motion sensors to track your movements as you sleep. It awaits a time when you are in a lighter stage of sleep before waking you up gradually and naturally within 30 minutes of your set alarm.
There are also plenty of apps which enable you to build up a picture of your sleeping patterns, encouraging you to adopt better habits. Sleepbot monitors sounds and movements to provide informative graphs detailing your night’s sleep cycles, which can be built-up to reveal a long-term history. Jawbone Up is another great option which uses external hardware in the form of a wristband to track your sleep with great precision. It provides data on everything from the number of times you woke up to how deep your sleep was.
For those who have difficulty relaxing before bed, there are a whole host of apps that offer various sounds to help induce sleep. These play everything from white noise, which is great for masking background noise, to calming sounds of nature, as well as guided meditations and deep breathing exercises. Sleep Pillow is a great option, featuring 70 recorded sounds that will gradually fade out on a sleep timer. Alternatively, it may be worth downloading Pzizz, an app boasting scientifically-proven techniques to help you fall asleep faster and combat insomnia.
Pick the Right Mattress
Comfort is a big factor affecting the quality of your sleep. Your bed should be big enough for you to move around, stretch and turn easily. If you suffer from a sore neck or back aches it may help to invest in a better mattress or to replace one that has become worn out over the years.
Doctors agree that a mattress should provide the right degree of firmness, so that your body is neither taken out of alignment, nor left unsupported. Memory foam is a great option for those looking for pain relief or simply some extra comfort. Memory foam mattresses are less firm than traditional versions. They’re designed to adjust to your body shape, evenly distributing your weight to eliminate pressure points for maximum comfort and support.
Limit Screen Time
At the end of the day it can be tempting to wind down in front of the TV or to take your smart phone to bed. But experts have shown that the light emitted from electronic screens mimics daylight, interfering with the production of melatonin, a hormone triggered by darkness to induce sleepiness. Even relatively short exposures is enough to send our body clock into disarray, as well as increasing vulnerability to a variety of health risks. Research also confirms that TV, films, surfing the net and video games all work to over stimulate the brain which is not great for sleep, and can be especially damaging for children and teenagers.
Limiting technology in the hours leading up to bedtime is a great habit to get into. Try doing a range of different activities instead, such as reading, listening to music, socializing, or best of all, meditation and relaxation exercises. If limiting technology before bed is an issue, the next best alternative is to use an app such as f.lux which adjusts the color of your screen according to the specific type of light it’s best to receive at particular points throughout the day.
Many of us don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night. By following these three tips designed to get us in the right frame of mind for sleeping, you’ll hopefully witness some significant improvements!
Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.