Tips for Getting a Good Night Sleep
One of the first places that most people should look if they’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep is their favorite devices. Blue light from devices like smartphones and tablets emit something known as blue light, which is light that comes from blue wavelengths.
The Dark Side of Blue Light
During the day, blue light can enhance attention and wakefulness. The Harvard Health Letter recently ran an article about how blue light may well have a dark side in the sense that blue light from electronic devices and even energy-efficient lighting could be worsening your sleep and producing other nasty side effects (e.g., heart disease and obesity).
What to do? Try limiting exposure to blue light a few hours before bed. Melatonin, a hormone important for sleep, builds up throughout the day and should be reaching its zenith right before you lay down for sleep. Blue light blocks melatonin from being secreted, so you might want to consider lowering your exposure to blue light later in the day.
Look Around Your Room
Look around your home. Do you have any kind of curtains up? Are there a bunch of empty coffee mugs on your bedside table? Is the television on? Factors like too much light, drinking caffeine before bed, and being exposed to blue light and noise from the television can wreak havoc on a good night’s sleep.
Consider installing blackout curtains, which can cut down on the amount of ambient light that makes it in to your room in the early morning hours. Also, know that caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can disturb your sleep patterns, so do an internal inventory to see if those substances might be impacting your ability to sleep throughout the night and feel refreshed for an exciting day ahead.
Check the Thermostat
Extreme temperatures can also imperil your ability to get eight hours of sleep every night, which is the recommended amount that sleep experts is say is ideal for mental and physical well-being. Most people prefer temperatures in the low 70s so that they neither get too hot nor too cold.
A hygrometer, an affordable tool for gauging indoor air humidity, can clue you in to high or low humidity levels and allow you to adjust accordingly with a humidifier or dehumidifier, respectively.
Exercise at the Right Time
Exercising for about half an hour every day can significantly improve your ability to get upwards of eight hours of quality sleep per night. The trick is not to exercise two hours or less before bed as that can engage your body’s sympathetic nervous system and keep you from winding down and easing in to sleep.
Your body should be relaxing as the day unfolds until your parasympathetic nervous system cues your body to sleep. Since exercise engages your sympathetic nervous system, the best time to exercise would be well out from your bedtime (e.g., six hours from bedtime). Avoid overstimulation and ease in to sleep!
Magnesium helps relax the muscles, but as we age, the body produces less and less of it. In fact, most Americans have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium has been proven to aid in a good night’s sleep, and is an essential mineral that your body needs to function optimally.
Melatonin is another supplement that can help you fall asleep, and stay asleep. And, if you wake up in the middle of the night, then the Melatonin that you took will help you fall back asleep. A usual dosage is 5mg to 10 mg. Melatonin can also help you recover from jetlag faster.