Steps to a Good Night’s Sleep

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1. Make the room cold. For most people, the ideal temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees F.

2. Make your room dark. Even a tiny amount of light can interfere with melatonin production and impair your sleep.

3. Control red and blue light. Light waves exist along a spectrum of color. Wakefulness is triggered primarily by blue light, like midday sunshine or what’s emanating from your computer screen. A warm red glow does almost nothing to impair sleep.

4. Ditch the cell phone. Radiation emitted from cell phones can increase the amount of time required to reach deep sleep cycles and increase the amount of time spent in those cycles according to a 2007 study.

5. Make your room as quiet as possible. Noise like a fan can help with sleep, but exposure to things like traffic noise has been shown to decrease overall sleep quality.

6. Improve the cortisol awakening response (CAR). A good way to improve sleep quality is to strengthen the initial spike in wakefulness that occurs in the morning. The best way to do this is to expose your body to natural sunlight shortly after waking for as little as ten minutes. Sunlight brings the bonus of increased vitamin D production, which is important for overall health. If you are using vitamin D supplements, try taking it in the morning.

7. Set a schedule and stick to it. Wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

8. Read for 15 minutes before bed. Use this time for light reading. It will reduce mental chatter and allow you to relax and let go of the day’s preoccupations.

9. Sleep on a good mattress. A quality bed is one of the best investments you’ll ever make and it doesn’t have to be ludicrously expensive to work.

10. Establish a sleep ritual. Once you find out what helps you sleep the most consistently, make it a consistent ritual so that as soon as you’re an hour away from bedtime you’re already on a reliable path to good sleep.

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