Did you know that the average American sleeps less than the required seven hours per night, with 40% sleeping less than six? Not only is this making us crankier and less focused at work and at school, but it is also upping our chances of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. If you are wondering what to get your loved one for Christmas this year, a good bed or pillow could be one of the best investments you can make in their health and happiness. Well rested people also tend to be more alert and attentive, and enjoy a better mood than their sleep deprived counterparts. What better present could there be than the gift of health?
What does Sleep Quality Consist Of?
“I’m getting my seven hours… why do I still feel tired when I get up in the morning?” you may ask. The answer could possibly be that you are getting good sleep quantity, but not good sleep quality. According to the National Sleep Foundation, quality sleep involves: falling asleep within half an hour of getting into bed; being awake for no longer than 20 minutes in total after initially falling asleep; waking up no more than once during the night; and sleeping for around 85% of the total time you are in bed.
Striving for Better Sleep Quality
If you asked yourself why you aren’t as comfortable as you should be in your bed, your answer might be “My bed is too soft,” “My pillows are too flat,” or “There’s too much noise in my home at bed time.” Clearly, sleeping well is more than a matter of personal effort. Basic bedroom design and good furnishings are also key. One of the most important things when it comes to sleeping well, is choosing the right firmness of your mattress for your sleeping position. If you sleep on your belly or back, you will need a firm mattress; if you sleep on your side, meanwhile, you will need a mattress made with memory foam or other materials that ensure your entire body is supported. A pillow top mattress can ensure your bed feels soft without losing on firmness. The benefits of using a pillow top mattress include greater comfort, which is why many top hotels include this feature in their beds. Pillow height is also important. If you frequently wake up with a stiff or painful neck, your pillow could be too high or firm. Finally, invest in blackout curtains and soundproofing if light or noise are a problem.
Establishing a Sleep Routine
Try to sleep at the same time every night, taking part in a relaxation activity in the lead-up to bed time. This might include a warm bath or a meditation or progressive muscle relaxation exercise before going to bed. Keep stress levels low during the day through yoga and mindful activities as well, since one of the biggest reasons for tossing and turning at night are worries and an inability to curb stress. Avoid coffee and other stimulants in the afternoon and try not to use gadgets in the evening, since these can keep you alert.
To wake up feeling energized and renewed, good sleep quality is key. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours a night, investing in a good bed and pillows. Remember that poor sleep is often linked to stress and worry, so battle these actively with mindfulness activity like controlled breathing, mindfulness meditation, and yoga.