Keeping Your Bucket Full
If you want to keep your bucket full, you have two options.
Recovery is not negotiable. You can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later. Keep your bucket full.6
What Other Steps Can Improve Sleep And Circadian Rhythm
If you have long-lasting sleeping problems that are affecting your energy, thinking, or mood, you should talk with your doctor who can best determine the cause, including any potential circadian rhythm disorder.
In addition, you can take steps to improve your sleep hygiene and reset your circadian rhythm. Avoiding excess caffeine, having a consistent sleep schedule, and getting regular exercise, are examples of how your habits and routines can support healthy sleep.
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Safe Sleep For Older Adults
Try to set up a safe and restful place to sleep. Make sure you have smoke alarms on each floor of your home. Before going to bed, lock all windows and doors that lead outside. Other ideas for a safe nights sleep are:
- Keep a telephone with emergency phone numbers by your bed.
- Have a lamp within reach that is easy to turn on.
- Put a glass of water next to the bed in case you wake up thirsty.
- Dont smoke, especially in bed.
- Remove area rugs so you wont trip if you get out of bed during the night.
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Tired Of Feeling Tired Here Are Some Simple Tips To Help You Get To Sleep
After a night spent tossing and turning, you wake up feeling like a couple of the Seven Dwarves: sleepyand grumpy. Restless nights and weary mornings can become more frequent as we get older and our sleep patterns change. In women, it often begins around the time of menopause, when hot flashes and other symptoms awaken them.
Later in life there tends to be a decrease in the number of hours slept. There are also some changes in the way the body regulates circadian rhythms.. This internal clock helps your body respond to changes in light and dark. When it undergoes a shift with age, it can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but when insomnia persists day after day, it can become a real problem. Beyond making us tired and moody, a lack of sleep can have serious effects on our health, increasing our propensity for obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may have turned to sleep medications in search of more restful slumber. However, these drugs can have side effectsincluding appetite changes, dizziness, drowsiness, abdominal discomfort, dry mouth, headaches, and strange dreams. A study in the British Medical Journal associated several hypnotic sleep aids, including zolpidem and temazepam , with a possible increased risk of death .
Try Meditation Or Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, which often disrupts sleep. Using these techniques can help calm an anxious mind, distracting the person from busy thoughts and allowing them to fall asleep more easily.
A in older adults with sleeping difficulties found that mindfulness meditation improved sleep quality, compared with people who did not practice mindfulness.
Dust And Vacuum Regularly
Dust, dust mites, shed skin cells and dirt are a fact of life. Bedrooms tend to see more of this than other rooms, since we spend so much of each day in them.
Breathe easier at night by giving your carpet and any upholstery a vacuum every week or two, and consider vacuuming the surface of your mattress at least monthly to keep it clean and healthy. This is especially important for people with allergies and asthma!
Invest In The Right Mattress And Pillows
What you sleep on matters and mattresses arent one size fits all. Ultimately, what it comes down to is how supportive a mattress is, says Keith Cushner, general manager of Tuck, the largest collection of aggregated data on sleep surfaces on the web. When buying a new mattress , take your height, weight, body type and sleep position preference into consideration. Lets say you weigh over 200 pounds, for example Cushner says youre going to want to choose a mattress with a higher density support foam or one that has lower-gaged coils that will push you back and hold you up. When buying a new mattress, keep this in mind: You have to spend at least 30 days with a new bed in order for you to get used to that bed and for that bed to conform to you and break in a little bit, so to speak, says Cushner.
As far as pillows go, look for ones with high-quality fill that can be washed or cleaned, says Michelle, Fishberg, co-founder of Slumbr, a sleep wellness company. While people spend hundreds if not thousands on a mattress, most people consider pillows an afterthought, says Fishberg, who points out that old and poor-quality pillows can cause neck pain as they lose support. Plus, dust mites, fungi, dirt and oils build up over time on your pillows, and that can exacerbate your allergies.
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Actually Go To Bed When You’re Sleepy
One of the most important parts of Dr. Weiss’ plan of how to improve sleep is to actually go to bed the instant you start getting sleepy .
“Go to bed when you feel sleepyânot just when you’re tired,” she says. “We need to understand the signals from our body to say ‘This is time to be sleeping’ or ‘I just need to rest a little bit because I’m tired from the day.'” If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open just to finish the next chapter, put the book down and turn off the lights.
When Should I Go To Sleep
If you’re getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep, does it matter when you get it?
The time of night when you sleep makes a significant difference in terms of the structure and quality of your sleep, said Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.
The ratio of REM to non-REM sleep changes through the night, with non-REM sleep dominating cycles earlier in the night and REM sleep kicking in closer to sunrise, Walker said. That means a late night could result in insufficient amounts of deep, non-REM sleep. As we discussed earlier, it’s crucially important to get healthy amounts of both REM and non-REM sleep.
So how early do you need to be to bed to get enough of each type of sleep? Walker says there’s a window of several hours, about 8 p.m. to midnight.
The best time for you, though, will vary.
Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich who studies the biological roots of sleep, says each person has a unique internal timing profile called a sleep chronotype that determines where on the scale from early bird to night owl we fall. Your chronotype is largely genetic.
See Your Doctor For Chronic Sleep Problems
Everyone suffers from occasional sleeplessness from time to time, but chronic sleep problems may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Certain medical conditions or medications may interfere with sleep. Lack of sleep can contribute to difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and an increased risk of accidents. See your doctor about your sleep problem. Be honest about any trouble you’re having falling asleep or staying asleep. Let your doctor know if you wake up feeling unrefreshed or if you feel sleepy or even fall asleep during the day. Keep a diary of your symptoms so you and your doctor can notice any patterns that may be contributing to your condition.
Avoid Tobacco For Better Sleep
Nicotine has an effect on neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that influence mood and sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant and can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Studies have proven that nicotine increases insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and sleep problems. Nicotine use suppresses restorative REM sleep. Smoking increases sleep-related respiratory problems. See your doctor if you’d like to quit smoking. There are medications and nicotine-replacement products that can help you wean off slowly and quit. Don’t be discouraged if you fall off the wagon. Many people try to quit a few times before they finally kick the nicotine habit for good. Many people are concerned about weight gain when they quit. Your doctor can advise you about diet and exercise strategies to combat that.
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Avoid Caffeine Later In The Day
A lot of people drink caffeine daily to help improve their energy levels, but it can actually do the opposite if you drink too much too late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant that can affect your body for up to eight hours, so the effects of drinking it will affect you when youre trying to fall asleep.
It can keep you awake until bedtime and make it harder for your body to relax while trying to sleep. Try giving yourself at least five hours between caffeine consumption and settling down in bed for a better night of sleep.
Diet Tips To Improve Sleep
Limit caffeine late in the day. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate late in the day.
Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It might seem that alcohol makes you sleepy, but it will actually disrupt your sleep.
Satisfy your hunger prior to bed. Have a light snack such as low-sugar cereal, yogurt, or warm milk.
Cut down on sugary foods. Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and French fries can cause wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
Avoid big meals or spicy foods just before bedtime. Large or spicy meals may lead to indigestion or discomfort. Try to eat a modest-size dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Minimize liquid intake before sleep. Limit what you drink within the hour and a half before bedtime to limit how often you wake up to use the bathroom at night.
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Ways To Sleep Better Tonight
CR offers advice on revising your routines and tweaking your bedroom to get the shut-eye you craveand need
Sleep is critical to our health. But for many of us, a restorative nights slumber is another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic at the very time we all need it the most. In a nationally representative CR survey of 2,851 U.S. adults last November, 28 percent of Americans reported having more trouble falling or staying asleep since the pandemic hit the U.S.
Not getting enough sleep can weaken the immune system, says Rafael Pelayo, MD, a sleep specialist and clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University and author of How to Sleep: The New Science-Based Solutions for Sleeping Through the Night . If you add on top of chronic sleep deprivation the stress of an infection, our system can be overwhelmed.
Poor or insufficient sleep can dull your brain and has been linked to an increased risk of serious illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. The National Institutes of Health has found that improving sleep can help protect against COVID-19, making it more important than ever.
Using our bedrooms as work and exercise spaces or even as classrooms, as many people are doing now, only makes getting a good nights sleep more difficult, experts say.
Make Sure You Are On The Right Mattress For You
The best mattress isnt just one thats comfortable . The right mattress for you is comfortable and supportive. Itll keep your hips properly aligned and reduce tossing and turning.
If you are doing all the right things but feel like you are sleeping on a rock, it may be time for a new bed.
What do you plan to try? Are there things you notice in your routine or bedroom that that help you sleep better?
About the author
Rosie Osmun regularly contributes to the Amerisleep blog writing about topics including, reducing back pain while sleeping, the best dinners for better sleep, and improving productivity to make the most of your mornings. She finds the science of sleep fascinating and loves researching and writing about beds. Rosie is also passionate about traveling, languages, and history.
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Create A Consistent Sleeping Pattern
Going to bed at different times every night is a common habit for many people. However, these irregular sleeping patterns could interfere with sleep because they interrupt the bodys circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is a selection of behavioral, physical, and mental changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. A primary function of the circadian rhythm is to determine whether the body is ready for sleep or not.
This is heavily influenced by a biological clock that releases hormones to induce sleep or wakefulness. Going to bed at the same time every night helps the body clock predict when to induce sleep.
Nix The Screens Before Bed
You might think scrolling through Instagram is a totally relaxing pre-snooze activity but its actually the complete opposite. The light from these devices and the emotions that can result from checking email or social media sites can make it harder to unwind and fall asleep, says Richard Blackburn, PhD, sleep psychologist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. The blue light actually blocks the release of melatonin , explains Blackburn. He suggests putting your iPhone into night shift mode when youre ready for bed, as this removes the blue light on your screen. But an even better option is to skip the electronics altogether.
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Set Your Bedroom Temperature
Body and bedroom temperature can also profoundly affect sleep quality.
As you may have experienced during the summer or in hot locations, it can be very hard to get a good nights sleep when its too warm.
One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise (
That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well.
In one study, a high carb meal eaten 4 hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster .
Interestingly, one study discovered that a low carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs arent always necessary, especially if youre used to a low carb diet .
Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, certain meals and snacks a few hours before bed may help.
Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies To Help You Sleep
Are you having trouble drifting into a peaceful, nourishing slumber? Yourenot sitting up at night alone:More than 60 million Americanssuffer from poor sleep quality.
Disturbed sleep is more than an inconvenience that leaves you dragging the next day: it can affect your emotional and physical health. It negatively affects your memory, concentration and mood, and it boosts your risk for depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Its not always necessary to get a prescription for a sleep aid, she says. There are natural ways to make adjustments to your sleeping habits.
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Keep A Regular Bedtime Routine For Better Sleep
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.
Block out snoring. If snoring is keeping you up, try earplugs, a white-noise machine, or separate bedrooms.
Go to bed earlier. Adjust your bedtime to match when you feel like going to bed, even if thats earlier than it used to be.
Develop soothing bedtime rituals. Taking a bath, playing music, or practicing a relaxation technique such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or deep breathing can help you wind down before bed.
Limit sleep aids and sleeping pills. Many sleep aids have side effects and are not meant for long-term use. Sleeping pills dont address the causes of insomnia and can even make it worse in the long run.
Combine sex and sleep.Sex and physical intimacy, such as hugging, can lead to restful sleep.
Streamline Your Morning Routine
Rushing around in the morning and constantly running late can contribute to quite a bit of stress. Tackling chores like prepping outfits and lunches or doing some of your grooming at night can mean more sleep and more relaxed mornings.
Dr. Mathias Basner says, One waking activity that may shorten sleep in major ways is time spent in the bathroom each morning. As many people have to show up at work at a certain time, those who spend prolonged periods of time in the bathroom can only take that extra time away from sleep. If you find ways to shorten time spent grooming and commuting, sleep time is likely to increase, and so are the associated positive effects on cognitive performance, mood, creativity, and health in general.
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