(NC) Proper sleep can improve moods, increase energy levels and strengthen your immune system. However, there are plenty of factors that can impede a revitalizing slumber. While issues like work stress, family responsibilities, health or relationships are more difficult to control, there are several things you can change today to help you get a better sleep.
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Just like with muscle memory, our bodies adjust to certain rhythms. Set up a sleep routine and stick to it, even on weekends. Perhaps a warm bath followed by a half hour curled up with a good book is just the ticket. Make sure you’re tired before trying to sleep to prevent tossing and turning.
- Unplug earlier. Power down electronics ideally two hours before bed time. The light they emit can affect the production of a hormone called melatonin, essential for a good night’s sleep. While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light does so more powerfully. Examples of light sources high in melatonin-suppressing blue light include LED light bulbs, computer monitors, laptop computers, cell phones, tablets, hand-held video games, and LED televisions.
- Create a comfortable, quiet sleep area. Quiet is essential, especially for shift workers, whose sleep-wake cycle is atypical. Consider soundproofing your bedroom. It’s a simple DIY task that can make a big difference. Experts recommend a product called Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound insulation that absorbs sound and prevents its transmission from room to room. Install it in walls, ceilings, and between floors for best results. Select a supportive mattress, and replace it every seven years. Choose comfortable sleepwear and bedding, and don’t forget to adjust the temperature. Many sleep experts say that a cool room, around 18˚C (65˚F), makes for the best sleep.