3 Crucial Foundations of Good Sleep

sleep

Adequate sleep is a proven remedy to many daily ailments that may bog you down throughout the day. Caffeine is often used as a band-aid to counteract the effects of lost sleep, but it’s masking an issue that won’t get better with extra shots of espresso. Of the 100 million Americans that suffer from occasional sleep problems, one third of them have chronic insomnia according to “No More Sleepless Nights” by Peter Hauri, Ph.D., former Director, Mayo Clinic Insomnia Program, and Shirley Linde, PH.D., bestselling medical author.

There is a slight misconception that insomnia just means the inability to sleep at all. In reality, insomnia is diagnosed for those who have difficulty falling asleep or those who are able to sleep but are woken up in the middle of the night and are unable to fall back asleep. The reasons range from anxiety, the bedroom environment, or other factors, but the result is the same: chronic sleep deprivation decreases your mental capacity for activities necessary for a positive and productive life. Sleep deprivation may negatively affect your weight, heart, blood pressure, mood, and immune system according to “The Sleep Solution” by W. Chris Winter, MD. To increase your chance of a better night’s sleep, be sure to address the three most foundational needs for a good night’s rest. These following points will address the bedroom environment as a contributor to sleep deprivation.

Temperature

The body sleeps best when it is cool since reduction in body temperature occurs in the evening. 65° F is the optimal temperature to fall asleep, and to stay asleep. When the bedroom is too cold or too hot, you may be woken up by your body’s desire to either cool down or warm up. Use a thermostat, if you have one, to ensure 65° F is maintained.

Lighting

Melatonin is the body’s natural chemical that’s secreted when the sun goes down to trigger sleep. Of course, this gets tricky as the average American’s habit is to use their electronic devices way past sundown. This tricks the body and stops it from creating melatonin. Make it a habit to turn off screens at least an hour before bed and your body will thank you by helping you fall asleep easier.

Sound

You may think that the ears don’t hear when you’re sleeping. However, your brain is still listening to your environment as you sleep. Sometimes you can’t control the sounds that happen outside your bedroom door, but you can control what happens inside your bedroom. Sleep with earplugs, or a soft, sleep inducing, ambient sound that can help override noises to help you with this issue. Roll up a towel and place it at the base of your door to block out sounds as well.

In earlier days, when there were no cars or advanced technologies, the foundation of good sleep was naturally provided, which made sleep easier for early humans. As the sun went down, the temperature decreased, and as night fells the remaining sounds were insects chirping and animals sleeping. This is why temperature, lighting, and sound are so important for a good night’s rest.

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