How to Achieve a Better Nights Sleep

  January 29, 2013 | SpaHub's Editors
 
 
Healthy sleep
In our busy world, people like to burn the candle at both ends. We try to milk as much activity out of our 24 hours a day as possible. With all the things that we try to make time for, the thing that we need to make the most time for is sleeping. For many it's their last priority, when it should be one of the first.
 
That fact is that while an overindulgence of sleep is unproductive, most people are far from that danger. Medical facts state that lack of sleep is a serious cause for illness and lack of productivity. The body is a marvelous machine that needs a restorative period. To put things in perspective, the body needs at the very least 6, but optimally 8 hours of sleep to perform all of the tasks that our lives require of it. That means hours at a time of doing nothing but sleeping, so that we have plenty of energy to function in a healthy productive manner every day.

What Can Influence Your Sleep?

A good night's sleep affect's your overall health, from your complexion to your organ function. Unfortunately, a number of people find this hard to achieve. Here are a few pointers towards achieving a solid 8 hours a night.

Exercise


Getting ample exercise at least 3 times a week should help you sleep better. The body naturally produces melatonin which promotes stronger sleep. It's good to do this earlier in the day, since the adrenaline in the evening can result in excess energy.

Diet


It's important to set up an eating routine; breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks in between. Waiting until before you go to sleep to eat makes it hard to properly digest the food you've eaten, thus agitating your sleeping habits.
Dairy, nuts, fruits, bread, crackers, grains contain chemicals that help you go to sleep. A midnight snack, as long as it's not an every night occurrence, shouldn't consist of more than a bowl of cereal or some crackers and cheese.

There are a number of foods that also may diminish the amount and quality of sleep you get. Fried foods, fat laden foods, coffee, soda, spicy foods, heavy proteins, sweets should all be avoided at least a few hours before bed.

Anxiety


One of the main causes of poor sleep is that the mind doesn't get a chance to unwind. Many people experience stress from morning to night, from deadlines that need to be met to other concerns. Meditating, breathing exercises, stretches or even showers help alleviate worries.

Stimulation


A number of people like to watch television, work on their computer or read until they fall asleep. However, this form of stimulation can prohibit you from getting enough sleep. It's recommended to set up a routine where half an hour before bed you relax instead of provoking your nerves.

Alcohol


Although liquor can help people fall asleep, it is actually closer to passing out. The sleep you get is interrupted and of poor quality and you may spent a significant portion of the next day nursing a nasty hangover.

Other Factors


Most people get less than just a few nights out of the week of deep, uninterrupted sleep. Sometimes these issues do not extend outside of the bedroom and are recognized by the NSF (National Sleep Foundation) as;
  • Bedroom Darkness – 56% impact
  • Partner Snoring – 42% impact
  • Pillows – 71% impact
  • Partner Movement – 26% impact
  • Allergies – 38% impact
  • Children Sharing Your Bed – 19% impact
  • Pets Sharing Your Bed – 28% impact
  • Sheets – 52% impact
  • Bedroom Temperature – 68% impact

While Sleeping Your Body Goes To Work


Most people would compare sleeping to a period at the end of a sentence. They think that when we sleep, our bodies shut down, and that's the end of things. The truth is that not only does your body not shut down, it performs many regenerative tasks that can only be performed during this phase. During the sleep cycle, our minds clears and sorts out the input that it receives during the awake cycle. Our bodies also go through a detoxification process. As we breathe deeply, our lungs clear out toxins, as does our skin. Our digestive organs process our daily intake of food, and prepare us for elimination the next day. Our muscles and tissue repair themselves, and our cells regenerate. These are but a few of the physical benefits of the sleep cycle.

Sleep Debt


As previously mentioned, the lack of sleep actually kills productivity as opposed to making us more productive. For millions of people, not being able to sleep is a torturous problem. Because the mind and body are not being refreshed or restored, a person can feel trapped and helpless. They can feel like they can never get rest, that they are always trying to catch up on a good night's sleep. While some people don't believe in sleep debt because of the stigma of being lazy, sleep debt is a very real and potentially dangerous problem.
Deep sleep

Sleep Deprivation


People should never underestimate the real value of a good night's sleep. Because the body performs so many restorative functions while we sleep, not getting enough if it holds major consequences. The consequences that people can suffer physically will bleed over into financial, and safety consequences as well. It's very sobering to consider how much is actually at stake from not getting enough restorative rest.

Disorders


It's very frustrating when sleeping disorders get in the way of everyday, normal, healthy living. These conditions are common and can range from irritating to quite dangerous for its sufferers. A number of issues can be responsible for interrupting or preventing healthy slumber. Read this guide to prevent poor sleep from impeding on your everyday life.

Your Bedroom


With millions of people who suffer from sleep disorders, health practitioners have been forced to examine all avenues as to why people can't sleep. One arena that is being looked at in recent times is the sleep environment. Studies have proven that in order to set one's self up for success in getting proper sleep, one must feel at peace, and as comfortable as possible. There are many ingredients for a great sleep recipe. These include a great mattress, comfortable room temperature, quality bedding, and noise elimination. Activities performed right before bedtime also play a part in whether or not our minds slow down, or stay active.


Tips


There is a bounty of tips offered from health practitioners, and scientists that study sleep patterns. While a sleeping pill can indeed put a person to sleep in the short term, they certainly can cause long term problems, and the pills don't teach proper sleep hygiene. Most people aren't even aware of the term "sleep hygiene;" It means the things that you can do to support your body's ability to fall asleep.



Pills


Most people would love to have a full 8 hours of sleep nightly, but because of stresses in their lives or a slew of other reasons, they get little to none. When people find that they can't rest naturally, they have to turn to synthetic ways of obtaining sleep, such as sleeping pills. Pills and other remedies help in the short term, but can cause greater problems in the long run. However, they are not without their benefits and should be researched thoroughly.



Natural Remedies


A number of people prefer to lean towards more holistic methods when trying to achieve a solid night's sleep. Although they are not recognized by the FDA or DEA, many individuals swear by their roots, herbs, plants, teas and other concoctions to help achieve better sleep. These are worth investigating before resorting to over the counter medication and there are specialists you can visit to consult you on these issues.



Your Mattress


Many people ignore the importance of a comfortable, supportive mattress. However, most people aren't trained to give deep thought to their mattresses. When we grew up, we slept on whatever our parents or caretakers provided. When we became adults, we usually slept on whatever we could afford. It is only when we can't sleep, and our bodies are in pain, that we realize how important the mattress is. Just as there are many types of people and body types, there are many types of mattress needs.



Nightmares


Although nightmares and night terrors are more common among children, adults may be plagued by them as well. Bad dreams wake you up from otherwise restful sleep and contribute to certain fears that prevent you from getting back to sleep. There is usually an influx of disturbing dreams due to new medications, stress, trauma, poor diet etc. Many medical professionals specialize in dreams, dream interruption as well as the prevention of nightmares.


Caffeine


Whether in the form of coffee, tea, energy drinks or supplements, most people ingest caffeine in one form or another at least once a day. It is called the most popular drug due to it's widespread use and acceptance. It helps people wake up with more easy and keeps them alert throughout the day. However, abuse can interrupt the body's natural sleep cycles and transform into an unhealthy habit.



Sleep Apnea and Snoring


A number of people snore and it serves as little more than a minor inconvenience. However, for some it becomes so intense that it interrupts their sleep as well as the slumber of those around them. Furthermore, snoring can be a sign of the onset of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea which is characterized by a blockage in the upper airway. Often times, minor surgery is conducted to treat this since it's dangerous to not breathe for a number of seconds at a time.


Jet Lag


Many people who's jobs require them to travel frequently, report issues with recovering from jet leg. Also referred to as desynchronosis, jet lag is a condition where the body;s circadian rhythm is disrupted by crossing time zones or experiencing daylight and darkness in foreign patterns. This usually causes drowsiness, unexpected alertness, bowel issues and overall fatigue. There are methods of combating jet lag, some with more weight than others.