Whether you're aiming for a personal best in an upcoming marathon, working on your golf game, or creating a digital marketing strategy for your business, you're not at your best without good sleep. On the physical side, sleep is when we¬†repair and build muscle tissues after a hard workout. On the mental side, it' when we¬†organize thoughts and commit them to memory. As such, insufficient sleep prevents us from getting the most out of our diet and exercise routines, learning new skills, and retaining important information. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a lack of sufficient rest¬†impairs our judgment and impedes our productivity. If that' not bad enough, it can also¬†lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease‚Ä¶and ultimately shorten our lifespans. The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults get between¬†seven and nine hours of sleep each night. They add that the specific amount will vary depending on the person, but stress that quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. So, if your sleep is frequently interrupted, you likely will not "‚Ä¶perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night." This combined with the lower health stats for those who lack sufficient sleep means a higher rate of accidents, lower quality of life, and on average, a shorter lifespan. If you're wondering how to fall asleep and how to get better sleep, read on. All it takes are some minor tweaks to your sleeping environment to make a big difference. Adjust Your Thermostat One of the keys to restful sleep is optimal temperature settings. A temperature around 64 degrees is often considered ideal. Not only is this generally more comfortable, it' well below the threshold where dust mites, mold, and other allergens can flourish. In addition to our home heating and cooling systems, we can choose specialized sheets, pillows, and mattresses that are designed to help manage excess heat, helping us keep cool. Regulate Indoor Humidity Keeping an indoor humidity between 30% and 50% RH (relative humidity) will be humid enough to prevent dry air symptoms like a dry nose, dry sinuses, and itchy, cracked skin, but not humid enough for mold and dust mites to thrive. Turn Off Your Lights Lightness and darkness are two of the factors which affect¬†circadian rhythm, our internal clock. Because of this, things like a lit cell phone screen from a 1am text message, or a streetlight outside your bedroom window can throw off your rhythm and deprive you of quality sleep. A logical approach might be to do what you can to mimic the natural rhythm of the sunlight. If you live in the country, that could simply mean letting natural light into your bedroom. In the city, that may mean closing the blinds and curtains, putting lights on timers, or using smart home technology to control your lighting. Fight Snoring Snoring is a powerful sleep inhibitor. It can prevent you (and your partner) from getting a good night' sleep. For serious cases, a clinical sleep study can be performed, and devices (such as a CPAP machine) can be prescribed. For minor, non medically threatening cases, there are a variety of tips and tricks that can help. These can include:
- Smart devices that have the capability to gently vibrate to make you change positions without waking up.
- Choosing quality pillows and mattresses that promote correct head and neck alignment
- Losing excess weight