It’s no secret that sleep is very important for health and wellbeing, yet it’s being constantly overlooked with an increasing amount of the population skipping out on sleep in order to spend more times partying, working, spending time on social media or playing video games. In order to optimise health I’d definitely suggest prioritising sleep and here are some strategies you can use to set your self up for a night of sound sleeping.
How To Set Yourself Up For A Good Night’s Sleep
What Negatively Impacts Sleep
Whilst sleep seems like a simple thing, there are many factors that can negatively impact a night of sleep. It seems so basic, the act of just closing your eyes and letting your body reset for the night, but many little things can have a profound impact on the quality of sleep, how deeply you sleep, the stages of sleep and how long you sleep for.
Here are some factors which affect sleep:
- Pillows (firmness)
- Bedroom temperature
- Bedroom darkness
- Blanket (heaviness, material)
- Light intensity
- Air quality
- People/pets sharing the bed
- Partner movement
There are quite a few factors in there, and some factors may affect other people more than you. It depends how habituated you’ve become to certain factors such as noise from cars driving on the road. If you’re used to it, you may be able to sleep more soundly despite the noise than someone who lives in a quiet neighbourhood and has moved to live in the city.
The Ideal Environment For A Good Night’s Sleep
Now that I’ve covered the factors affecting sleep, let’s go over the ideal environment you’ll want to create for a good night’s sleep.
- Good mattress (depends on your preference)
- Good pillows (depends on your preference)
- Quiet room
- Dark room
- Cool temperature
- Fresh air
- Clean bedroom
Creating an environment like this will help you to sleep soundly and recover well for the next day.
Create A Bedtime Routine
Routine’s are great because they help to prepare your body for an activity and your brain learns to associate the routine with the activity. So by performing the same bedtime routine before you go to sleep on a regular basis, you are actually helping to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
An hour or two before bed consider starting a bedtime routine and try to:
- Avoid electronic devices
- Avoid stimulating activity
- Meditate or listen to calming music (to stimulate the parasympathetic system)
- Reduce light intensity in the house (dim those lightbulbs)
- Get changed into your sleepwear.
This will help to prepare your body on a routine basis before bed so when you hit the bed, you’ve already calmed down for the night and can get to sleep sooner.
For a good night’s sleep, there are other things you can do to help get the high-quality rest you deserve:
- Exercise daily
- Tense and relax your muscles
- This is more to help your muscles relax if they are tense.
- Practice belly breathing.
- Breathe deeply in and out through your belly.
- By breathing deeply out and exhaling for long periods of time you help to stimulate the parasympathetic system.
- Keep a bedside notepad
- To jot down any last minute ‘I must remember’ notes to do the next day.
- This will help to reduce stress or anxiety which may stop you from sleeping soundly.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Being present in the moment will help you to focus on various sensations within your environment.
- This can help with sleep by focusing on how your body feels tired and avoiding the temptation to do hyper-stimulating activity such as going on social media or watching YouTube or Netflix,
Sleep Is Important For Athletes
Sleep is especially important for athletes. There are strong links between sleep and athletic performance.
Sleep is when recovery from exercise occurs because human growth hormone is released during sleep which helps to stimulate growth and recovery. In fact, athletes who sleep longer tend to be at a lower risk of injury so if you care about performance, sleep is definitely something to prioritise. It helps to reduce your overall stress load which is important considering athletes are putting a great amount of physical and mental stress on their body during training and racing. It also may help reduce the risk of illness and improve cognition in everyday life and in performance.
I hope you found this article insightful! If you did, I’d greatly appreciate it if you could share it with deep sleepers, light sleepers and anyone who could do with some more sleep in their life!