5 Ways to Optimize Your Sleep
A full 40 percent of Americans get less sleep than they need, according to Gallup. While the average of 6.8 hours of sleep per night is down a full hour from 1942.
In many cases, we aren’t sleeping enough, and the sleep we get is not very refreshing. Thanks to technology and busy schedules, our minds are often wired to keep going long past bedtime; however, a little shut-eye can provide immense mental and physical benefits. In fact, one night of good sleep can improve your ability to learn new motor skills by 20%, increase your ability to gain new insight into complex problems by 50%, promote skin health and a youthful appearance, and encourage healthy cell division (help prevent cancer).
Even if you use Neuro gum or mints like I do to give you an extra boost during the day, it’s just as necessary to get a good night’s rest. If you find yourself waking up exhausted and struggling to get through the day, the following tips can help you better optimize your sleep…
1. Limit your exposure to blue light.
Screen time is not your friend when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Before the dawn of smart phones, watches and even television, people were conditioned to get tired as the sun set, since the body would naturally increase the amount of melatonin – a natural hormone that induces sleep – produced as light in the environment decreased. All of our devices today, however, emit blue light, making it hard for our bodies to make melatonin and induce tiredness. Thus, wreaking havoc on sleep cycles.
To combat this, make sure you turn off all of your screens at least an hour ahead of time to allow your body and mind to wind down before bed. Can’t do that? Look into apps that reduce blue light. In particular, flux shifts the screen color temperature on your devices, allowing you to stay online without having to pay the price all night. If you are still struggling to get to sleep, consider a pair of special glasses that block blue light.
2. Cool off
You might be surprised to learn that the ideal sleep temperature is somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body temperature drops prior to sleep, as does your heart rate and breathing rate. All of this sets the stage for a comfortable night’s sleep. A room that’s even just slightly too hot will lead to restlessness and general discomfort while trying to sleep. Make sure your room stays cool throughout the day and minimize the use of any heat-producing devices in your bedroom.
3. Block out all light
There is a reason tired parents of newborns and toddlers increasingly turn to black-out curtains – they help everyone sleep better. As mentioned above, exposure to any amount of light can halt production of melatonin and disrupt your sleep cycle, according to a study by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Look into black-out curtains or even an eye mask to ensure that your sleep isn’t disrupted by the light from your phone or alarm clock or rays of light peeking in through your bedroom windows.
4. Try aromatherapy
Simple and enjoyable, aromatherapy entails breathing in certain essential oils which can help promote sleep. Cancer patients struggling with sleep who tried aromatherapy enjoyed notable results, according to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. In particular, lavender, frankincense, bergamot, ylang ylang, jasmine, lemon and mandarin can help support sleep. Aromatherapy can also reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Paint your bedroom
If your bedroom is painted purple, brown or gray, it might be time to pull out the paint brush. In fact, blue is your best bet in the bedroom. People who sleep in blue bedrooms enjoy nearly eight hours of sleep per night, according to a study from Travelodge, perhaps because the calming color can help slow down the heart rate and even reduce blood pressure. The study also revealed that nearly 60 percent of those who sleep in a blue bedroom report waking up happy. The second-best option is yellow, followed by green, silver and orange. If nothing else, a fresh coat of paint can create an inviting, clean space and a fresh start when it comes to optimizing your sleep.
Sleep is critical to health and wellness, productivity and energy. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, these simple changes can help you fall asleep faster and wake feeling refreshed.
Want other tips on getting better sleep?
Check out our other posts:
8 Ways to Sleep Better and Feel Rested Again
Interesting Relaxation Techniques for Better Sleep
This article was written by Dan Scalco. As an entrepreneur, nootropic enthusiast, columnist at Inc, Entrepreneur, and HuffPost, he blogs about how to optimize your mind and increase your productivity at BrainWiz.org.
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