How To Put Quality Above Quantity When It Comes To Sleep

Scientists and healthcare experts alike tend to agree that the average person needs to recieve seven to nine hours of sleep every night in order to get the proper amount of rest they need. While this is a good figure to go by, it is important to point out that this doesn’t take into account the quality of the sleep a person may or may not be getting in between those seven to nine hours. For instance, you could fall asleep at 12 a.m. and wake up at 7, which would be within the “right” timeframe, if you spent the night tossing and turning, or waking up every few hours, you would more than likely wake up feeling at least a little tired and not entirely refreshed. This is why there is something to be said about improving the quality of sleep we get and not just hitting a specific time marker.

Getting more hours of sleep, unfortunately, doesn’t provide a guarantee of feeling completely refreshed and well-rested the next morning, so here are some important tips to keep in mind to make sure your quality of rest is truly up to standard. 

Light and darkness are the key factors when it comes to regulating your sleep wake cycles. Being exposed to light, artificial or real, tends to make your body and brain feel energized, while being immersed in darkness will more than likely send the signal to start feeling sleepy and drowsy. This is why you should take steps to remove yourself from light in the hour before bed; that means turning off all electronic devices. Preferably, you would keep them out of your bedroom altogether so your body doesn’t get exposed to light; the darkness conditions the body to feel tired. If you live in an urban area and city lights leak into your room, try installing heavy curtains or use an eye mask to block out the light.

It will also help you to lower the temperature of the bedroom. This goes back to how our ancestors learned to fall asleep during the night when the temperature naturally tends to cool down. Cooler temperatures are just one more signal for the body to begin to wind down, the same way darkness is. 

If you find that you’re a light sleeper, easily waking up at the slightest noises, a white noise machine can really help you out. We tend to wake up in the middle of the night in response to a noise that, on an instinctual level, may or may not be a threat to our safety. Falling asleep to white noise will set a backdrop of peaceful noise for your ears, so if another noise occurs during the night, you will be less likely to wake up out of concern due to hearing a foreign noise. 

Finally, consider the foods you eat towards the end of the day. Certain foods, such as turkey and bananas, contain tryptophan, which can help encourage feelings of sleepiness in the body. Just be sure to stop eating at least one hour before bed so that your digestive system isn’t working as you fall asleep, since this can wake you up with indigestion or heartburn. 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Juanedc

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.