Few things are as pleasant as waking up in the morning feeling refreshed, restored, and ready to face the day with a positive attitude. Quality sleep is crucial to many aspects of your life and can enhance your overall well-being.
If you are one of many Americans who suffer from sleep issues of various types, then you probably want to find out how to get better quality sleep and live a better, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Why not make sleep quality your top resolution for the upcoming new year?
Then, look no further. This article will explain what good sleep means, why it’s important, and how you can achieve it. Sound like a dream? We promise it’s true!
What Does “Good Quality Sleep” Mean, Anyway?
Let’s start with the basics and try to define what “good quality sleep” is. The key is all in the word “quality,” as opposed to “quantity.” Have you ever gotten up in the morning after a good, long sleep yet still felt groggy, tired, and sluggish?
This is a classic example of getting enough hours of sleep but not enough good quality sleep. Still confused? Let’s dig in a bit more.
You probably know that an adult’s recommended amount of sleep per night is around seven hours, at least. However, what happens in those hours is crucial to determine whether you will wake up feeling truly rested in the morning.
If you take a long time to fall asleep, often wake in the night, lie awake for over 20 minutes at a time, feel tired and irritable during the day, and struggle to concentrate and relax, then you might have a sleep quality problem.
The levels of severity of your issue can vary a lot: you might simply be going through a difficult period that is affecting the way you sleep, or you might have been diagnosed with full-blown, chronic insomnia.
Either way, you need to learn some tips and tricks on how to sleep better and put them into practice every day with consistency. In the long term, your hard work will pay off.
A Word on Sleep Stages
In order to understand why getting a good night’s sleep regularly is crucial, you want to understand a bit more about what happens during sleep. To clarify: we are only referring to nighttime sleep here, as this is what impacts our wellbeing the most.
To get a good night’s sleep, your body must go through several sleep stages — five, to be more precise — without interruption.
The first stage occurs when you transition from wakefulness to a state of light sleep. In this stage, you are not fully asleep yet and can be more prone to be awakened by sounds, lights, or other physical stimuli.
In the second phase, you enter a slightly deeper type of sleep. Your entire body starts to relax, your heartbeat and breathing slow down, as does your brain wave activity.
The third sleep phase is characterized by deep sleep. This fundamental stage will allow you to wake up feeling refreshed the following day. Your heartbeat and breathing are at their slowest, and your muscles are fully relaxed. At this point, it may be very difficult to wake you up.
The fourth and last phase is REM sleep. This is characterized by rapid movements of your eyes which signal that you are entering a dreaming stage. REM sleep is still deep, but your body becomes more active, and your brain waves are similar to those noted during wakeful periods.
A good quality sleep happens when your body and mind go through all of these phases without disrupting and waking up. Now, read on to learn why and how to get good sleep.
Why Is Getting a Good Night’s Sleep So Important?
Sleeping well at night is crucial, and you know that. Both physically and mentally, you function at your best if you have had a good night’s sleep. Why is that, though?
While you are going through all the sleep phases described above, your body and brain are busy doing a lot of work behind the scenes. Your immune system gets consolidated, your muscles, cells, and other organs get repaired, and your cognitive functions are strengthened.
People who consistently sleep well have been proven, time and again, to be less likely to suffer from a variety of potentially life-threatening conditions. These include heart problems, stroke, diabetes, and depression.
Your weight, too, is affected by how much good sleep you get regularly. Those who sleep better at night tend to have a much more efficient metabolism, which helps them burn fats and calories at a higher rate, stick to a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy body weight.
But it’s not all about your body: your mental health can also highly benefit from getting a good night’s sleep every night. Sleeping better (remember, doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping more) helps reinforce cognitive processes such as memory, creativity, problem-solving, and self-confidence.
Hormones also play a vital role during sleep: growth hormone levels rise while cortisol (the hormone linked to feelings of stress) plummets. Some experts even believe that chronic insomnia may be associated with poor hormone function in some individuals.
All of these are some of the main reasons why sleeping well is crucial if you want to achieve good mental and physical health. But how can you do that? Keep on reading!
How Can You Make Good Quality Sleep a Habit?
If you are serious about starting to get consistently good sleep at night, then you are in for a fair bit of work. We promise, though, that it will all pay off, and if you stick with these tips, you’ll get there in a very short time. Ready to make your dream of sleeping better a reality?
Even if it may sound counterintuitive, you want to start by looking at what you do during the day. What type of lifestyle do you have? What kind of job? Where do you live, and with who?
Try to spend some time considering all of these elements and unpick whether there is something that you feel might be hampering your sleep quality. Is it a particularly stressful co-worker? Or perhaps you have been having more arguments than usual with your loved ones?
Whatever it is that is causing you to feel stressed out during the day, try to address it with a few positive actions. Practice some yoga, Pilates, or mindfulness. Get a full-body massage or try aromatherapy. If the situation is causing you an extreme level of anxiety, consider talking to a professional about it.
As a second step, you will want to maximize your exposure to sunlight during the day. Yes, because this helps regulate your body’s melatonin production, which is vital in helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Then, make sure you lead a moderately active life. Walk to places whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a run, or practice your favorite sport or exercise class. Try, however, to work out before the evening comes to give your body (and mind) plenty of time to wind down.
Another aspect that you want to consider is your eating and drinking habits. If you realize that you are consuming too much caffeine, alcohol, or fatty foods, then cut all of that down ASAP. And if you really can’t live without your espresso, make it a morning one instead of an afternoon treat.
Create a Dreamy Environment for Great Sleep
Finally, you’re almost ready to go to bed. Now is the time to think about setting the perfect sleep environment and winding down before you go. Make it your mission to avoid bright screens for at least an hour before you head to your bedroom, and try to do something pleasant and relaxing.
Incorporate meditation, breathing exercises, or body scanning techniques into your routine, and ensure a fairly consistent bedtime. Invest in a good quality mattress and bed, and keep your bedroom clear of any electronic devices that might harm your sleep quality.
Your bed and bedroom are your sleep sanctuary: maintain them clean, cozy, and comfortable to facilitate a good night’s sleep. And if you are still having trouble achieving the best possible sleep, then why not give these SugarBear Hair sleep vitamins a go?
Sleeping Better for Life? Yes, It’s Possible
Achieving the best quality sleep of your life, and maintaining it, can be a bit challenging but is possible. You must establish a bedtime routine, keep it consistent, and avoid distractions.
What you do during the day is important too. Try to maintain stress levels to a minimum, plan nice, relaxing activities for yourself, eat well, and exercise regularly.
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