You deserve rich, deep, refreshing sleep. But how? Here are some simple ways to get better sleep, plus some mobile sleep app ideas.
Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone: more than one-quarter of the U.S. population report occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10 percent experience chronic insomnia.
According to a report by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the promotion of regular sleep is known as sleep hygiene, and getting into a healthy sleeping practice is not only good for the spirit, but for your overall health and wellbeing.
While some prefer counting sheep, if you want to get better sleep, the promotion of regular sleep in the appropriate amount is key. Here are some steps to help you get better sleep ASAP:
1. Make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep at regular hours.
Individual needs may vary, but the average adult generally needs 7.5 – 9 hours of rest per night. Establishing routine by going to bed at the same time each night and rising at the same time each morning will help your body form a natural sleep cycle, meaning your sleep will be more regular, and more satisfying.
2. Ensure your sleeping space is comfortable.
Everyone has their sleeping preference; once you know what yours is it will be easier to alter your sleeping space to fit your needs. Most prefer a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot or too cold. Similarly, making sure your bed is used only for sleeping rather than for work or entertainment will help your brain associate your bed with sleeping only.
3. Get rid of distractions.
Removing TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom will help you focus on your goal – restful sleep – without the interruption of a Facebook or email notification. Putting your phone on airplane mode will silence any disruptive activity without stopping your alarm clock.
4. Establish a consistent “wind-down” routine.
Exercising or eating less than 3 hours before bed won’t tire you out in time, because your body will still have energy to spare. Move dinner and your workout to earlier in the day; closer to bedtime your routine should be winding down rather than up, easing you into eventual rest.
Expert tip: Try milk. Seriously, milk is a source of L-tryptophan, an amino acid long known to help sleep. A light snack at bedtime can help too.
5. Utilize helpful sleep applications on your smart phone. Or, just get rid of your smartphone.
Try a sleep tracking and management application on your android or IOS device. There are a number of apps available that help users fall asleep, track their sleep, and awake comfortably. The list of sleep apps is endless and many may be worthwhile, but do your research. A 2017 University of Illinois study of 35 sleep apps found that “while most help users set sleep-related goals and track and manage their sleep, few make use of other methods known to help the chronically sleep-deprived.”
Researchers at Brown University are developing a sleep app based on scientific literature that guides users through a sleep experimentation routine that should provide users with better sleep outcomes.
Other researchers at the University of California have concluded that a good way to get better sleep is simply to leave your phone in another room or turn it off. Their studies show that just having a phone in your bed can significantly contribute to poor sleep.
Still having trouble? If your sleep problems persist or if they interfere with how you feel or function during the day, you should seek evaluation and treatment by a physician, preferably one familiar with assessing and treating sleep disorders.
Cover photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons with edits by Curiousmatic.