what makes a good night's sleep
For far too many people, a good night’s sleep is an illusion. This is unfortunate, because adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to operate at their best each day, and young people need even more. If you’re not getting enough sleep or your sleep isn’t sound enough to keep you feeling refreshed during the day, it’s time to determine why so that you can do something about it. As you can imagine, sleeping well starts with feeling good both physically and emotionally, so learning about both of these areas is a great place to start if your sleep isn’t what you think it should be.
Just the Facts
As most people already know, your sleep is divided into REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep, and it goes back and forth throughout the night. REM sleep is the deepest sleep and is the stage when dreaming occurs. If you don’t get the right amount of REM sleep, you will not wake up feeling refreshed, and this is a distinct possibility if you don’t stay asleep long enough to get to REM sleep. This is why it isn’t important just to get to sleep quickly each night – you also need to stay asleep long enough to enjoy your REM sleep and everything that goes along with it.
In today’s world, sleep eludes many people because of how stressful and hectic their lives are. If your mind is cluttered with worry, it is naturally going to be more difficult for you to get to sleep and stay asleep each night. This is why tips written to help people sleep better each night usually center around both the physical causes and the emotional causes of sleep problems. In fact, to start getting the absolute best sleep possible each night, this is a must.
Physical Causes of Sleep Problems
If you’re having problems sleeping, there could always be a medical reason. This is rare, of course, but a checkup with your doctor will likely put your mind at ease because you’ll be able to determine a solution so that sleep is much more of a possibility. Once you know there is nothing medically wrong with you, you can move onto other possibilities. For instance, your mattress could very well be keeping you from sleeping well each night, so if you’re not sleeping right, this could be the culprit.
Mattresses are made to last a certain number of years. Some are good for only seven to eight years, while others are guaranteed for life. Most people, however, have mattresses meant to last somewhere in the middle of these two time frames. If you’re having trouble sleeping and you can’t figure out why, it could very well be your mattress. This is especially true if you find yourself waking up each morning with aches and pains that you can’t explain. A good mattress can eliminate those aches and pains immediately, and you should also take a look at your pillow while you’re at it.
If you know there is nothing medically wrong with you and you’ve already purchased the best mattress and pillow money can buy, it’s likely time to move onto any psychological or emotional reasons for why you can’t sleep.
Emotional Causes of Sleep Problems
Stress. Everyone has it, but once your stress level gets to the point where you cannot sleep, it’s time to do something about it. There are dozens of ways to eliminate stress and help you sleep better, and below are a few of them:
- Reduce your exposure to blue light for several hours before you go to bed. This means no cell phones, tablets, or computers.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day.
- Practice meditation or basic deep-breathing exercises before you go to bed.
- Go to bed and wake up at certain times every day.
- Read a good book at bedtime.
- Listen to some relaxing music.
There are other things you can do as well, such as take a melatonin tablet or drink a cup of warm chamomile tea before you go to bed. It’s possible that doing just one of these things might not help you fall asleep faster or keep you asleep longer, but if you combine a few of them, they work for most people. Eliminating stress from your life is good for many different reasons, not just for helping you sleep better, so finding ways to do this is an effective way to improve your overall health.
After all, we live in a very stressful world, and it’s more likely that your inability to sleep has something to do with your emotional state rather than how you feel physically. Nevertheless, exploring both your physical health and your emotional health is the first step to making sure you start sleeping better from then on, and it’s a lot easier than you think to concentrate on these areas so that you can get one step closer to getting the sleep you know you deserve each night.
A Few Other Things
If you feel your inability to sleep isn’t either physical or emotional, there is still one other possibility: you might have a sleep disorder. Conditions such as sleep apnea can wreak havoc on your ability to get a good night’s sleep and even on your life, so when you’re talking to your doctor, you might want to discuss this possibility with him or her just so all of your bases are covered. Sleep disorders are always a possibility you need to explore with your doctor when you are unable to sleep each night.
Finding the best pillow or mattress and checking your physical environment is important to getting a good night’s sleep, but eliminating stress is just as important, if not more important. There are a lot of things that can prevent you from getting the sleep you need and deserve so that you can feel better and be more productive during the day. The trick is to find out exactly why you’re not accomplishing this so that you can deal with it, and this is much easier than you think.