A deep, restorative sleep is attainable with a few lifestyle changes and positive habit-forming behaviors. A better diet, less screen time and a fair amount of exercise can go a long way—as will outfitting your bed with a whole lot of comfort. Chronic sleep deficiency can have a real effect on longevity, so getting a better night’s sleep may just save your life.
Put Away That Tablet
At least 30 minutes before bed stop using phones and tablets. At all ages, reading, watching or playing on those devices can have extremely detrimental effects. Research suggests that it creates an undesirable environment for falling asleep and it plays a role in how tired you are the next day.
The light from the screen can have lower melatonin levels and strain your eyes. If you need something to fall asleep to, read a real, printed book in bed. It might even make you nostalgic for the good old days.
Open Your Wallet (for Sheets)
Thread count matters. High quality, 100% cotton bedding (organic if you can) makes a difference in your nighttime comfort. In addition, do your research to purchase the best mattress your budget allows. It might mean spending quite a bit more initially, but it’ll pay off in the end. A great mattress is worth its weight in gold. Sometimes, literally.
Learn Your Position
What kind of sleeper are you? Side, back or tummy? This will help guide you on what pillows to use for support. If you’re on your back, use one for your head and one for under your knees. On your side, keep a firm pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure on your lower back. If you’re an insistent stomach sleeper, place a pillow under your stomach/hips. This will help you get a good night’s rest.
Try to avoid acidic foods and alcohol as much as possible, especially just before bedtime. These are acid reflux triggers and heartburn is the last thing you want when you’re trying to rest up for a busy day. Avoid fatty, fried foods to keep gastrointestinal distress at bay. Make sure your dinners are filled with lots of alkaline-forming greens, root veggies and whole grains instead. To ensure your food is on the proper path to digestion, it’s a good idea to stop eating at least two hours prior to hitting the pillow.
Protect Your Prostate (for the Gentlemen)
If you’re a male and you find yourself getting up fairly often to empty your bladder in the evening, you may want to get your prostate checked. A growing prostate could be putting a lot of pressure on your system. Regulating you prostate gland with attention to diet can help keep you in bed and out of the bathroom.
With just a few small shifts, you’ll be on your way to dreamland in no time. In the evening hours, make your bedroom a sanctuary reserved exclusively for sleep. Free from distractions like food and technology, you’ll be ready to drift off to a deep and restful slumber.
The healthy habits you embark on during daylight—veggie meals, exercise, meditation, will ensure you get the nightly restoration your body needs. The culmination of all of these actions can potentially add years to your life. Sweet dreams, everyone!