Do you struggle to get a good night’s rest? Do you wake up groggy and mean? It is okay; we have all been there (some of us still are…). Sleep deprivation has been used to torture prisoners in the past. I am sure you can understand why! There is a very good reason why the autofill on the interwebs on looking for tips is largely sleep-related. Recent surveys have produced staggering results; the average U.S citizen struggles with sleep at least once a week – a whopping 68% of Americans are not getting the sleep they deserve. This figure is not limited to new moms or shift workers either; we are talking about everyday people here. I have put together a very straight-forward guide to improving the quality of your sleep from tonight. You might be scoffing at me right now as you read this but keep an open mind and let me tell you how I plan on reducing your sleepless nights effectively and efficiently improving your sleep.

  • Honor Your Natural Sleep-Cycle

Get in sync with your body’s natural clock, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm. This is one of the primary strategies to enhance the quality and quantity of sleep. Staying regular does have other meanings – ones which we will save for another time and not get into today. This version of staying regular involves creating healthy sleeping times that you can stick to consistently. If your body knows what to expect, then it can assist you in achieving the best results possible. This does require training for some people; it is a bit like not being able to run a marathon without training. I probably would not be able to run a marathon, period, but sleep marathon…that I can do! Find your body’s best sleep times to go to sleep and then to wake up – then stick to them; this may involve tweaking your current ones if you do not feel like you are getting the most out of your REM time. 

  • Minimize Bright Lights

Your melatonin, your hormonal friend that helps you sleep, levels are controlled by light exposure, and this naturally occurring buddy regulates your cycle of being asleep and being awake. Try and get a lot of morning sun shortly after you wake up, have your breakfast outside or on the balcony or go for a brisk morning walk and let those rays warm your smile. During the day, if possible, try and maintain these levels of natural light. Open the curtains, fetch the newspaper, whatever it takes. Sunlight works wonders on improving your general mental wellbeing and is not just great for your sleep-wake cycle. At night, limit the amount of time you spend near bright artificial lighting. Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime if you want the best results. Remember, your phone needs you more than you need it.

  • Better Bed, Better Sleep

This should not come as a surprise to anyone, but the better your mattress is, the better your sleep will be. If you are not sure where to start, this memory foam mattress here will be a fantastic start to improving your sleep for many years to come. A good quality mattress will not only enhance the quality of your sleep, but the really good ones assist with relieving and reducing chronic inflammation and even the pain caused by arthritis. 

  • Clear Your Head

Clear your mind and find your very own wind-down ritual before bed. There are so many simple and easy options to choose from that you will no doubt be able to find one that suits you and your lifestyle. Decompressing and winding down before you go to sleep works wonders in improving the sleep you do get; it is an important factor in achieving a mental balance with your physical body.

  • Run for Your Life…In A Good Way.

Exercise is such a consistent buzzword, is it not? Everywhere you go, and everywhere you turn, it is there. Whether you are a runner, a walker, a swimmer, or a cross-fit junkie, it matters not. What matters here is that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, which equates to a little over 20 minutes every day. Achievable? I would say so! You really will thank me later; exercise reduces stress, improves your mood and general wellbeing, and has such a positive impact on your ability to get a good night’s sleep.