Do you have trouble sleeping and really resting? Little wonder. It’s an increasingly common problem. Plenty of our habits – even a certain impatience with life – have affected our ability to get essential rest in sleep.

Below are 8 tips from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine that will improve the quality of your rest, simple recommendations that are easy to put into practice. And remember the quality of your sleep determines in some good measure the quality of your waking life.

Sleep with a flashlight within easy reach
This is not so that you’re ready for an emergency, but something far simpler: if you need to get up during night (most likely, to use the toilet), a flashlight allows you to avoid turning on other lights which can affect your cycle of rest and circadian rhythms.

Banish light emitting screens from your bedroom
Among the greatest threats to nighttime sleep are the myriad gadgets surrounding us; telephones, tablets, TV screens, and smart watches. These have at least two serious effects on our ability to fall asleep. On one hand, the light they emit is intense enough to make our bodies believe it’s still daytime and that, for this same reason, we need to remain alert. On the other hand, the constant state of attention and distraction such devices require of us already diametrically oppose the state of calm required to enter into an effective rest.

Hide the face of your alarm clock
There may be one screen you can’t simply expel from your room: that digital clock that wakes you up in the morning. If this is the case, at least turn it so that the light – even if it’s a scarce light – faces away from you. If you use your cell phone, keep it as far away from you as possible when sleeping and turn it so that the screen faces down.

If you sleep with the heat on, set it to a lower temperature
Contrary to what’s commonly believed, the best temperature for sleeping is not particularly warm, but rather cool. If you sleep with the heat on or set to turn on at some point during the night, try to keep the average room temperature between 54 and 75 degrees F (12 – 23 degrees C).

Cover windows with totally opaque curtains
As we’ve seen above, one essential factor for a good night’s sleep is the near total absence of light. If at all possible, cover the windows of your bedroom with darker curtains to ensure absolute darkness.

Avoid sleeping with pets
Lots of people make a habit of sleeping with pets, in the same room and even in the same bed. Pets, however, follow sleep cycles very different from those of humans. Both dogs and cats will often wake up and move several times during the night. If this is the case with your own pets and you really want to take advantage of a night of sleep, you may need to reconsider having pets in the bedroom.

Replace your mattress and pillows, and always sleep with clean bedding
Several studies have pointed out the importance of renewing all your sleeping accessories. The useful life of a mattress is normally about 10 years, depending on its quality. Pillows likely need to be replaced every two years. Likewise, hygiene in sheets, duvets, blankets, pajamas and any other bedding helps to ensure restful and healthy nights, as a clean environment is more welcoming.

Always make your bed
A habit as simple as making the bed can affect your overall disposition toward rest. Getting home to find your bed well-made can be much more encouraging toward sleep than is finding a bed in chaos and then trying to accommodate yourself to that same chaos. If you doubt this, a study by the National Sleep Foundation found evidence: the quality of sleep improved in people who adjusted themselves to the habit of making their bed every morning.

In conclusion, sleep and rest need their own times and circumstances, perhaps even a conciliatory ritual. In light of the prevailing mood, perhaps to sleep, we need to dare to accept the fact that we want it and we need it.

 

 

*Image: Public Domain

Do you have trouble sleeping and really resting? Little wonder. It’s an increasingly common problem. Plenty of our habits – even a certain impatience with life – have affected our ability to get essential rest in sleep.

Below are 8 tips from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine that will improve the quality of your rest, simple recommendations that are easy to put into practice. And remember the quality of your sleep determines in some good measure the quality of your waking life.

Sleep with a flashlight within easy reach
This is not so that you’re ready for an emergency, but something far simpler: if you need to get up during night (most likely, to use the toilet), a flashlight allows you to avoid turning on other lights which can affect your cycle of rest and circadian rhythms.

Banish light emitting screens from your bedroom
Among the greatest threats to nighttime sleep are the myriad gadgets surrounding us; telephones, tablets, TV screens, and smart watches. These have at least two serious effects on our ability to fall asleep. On one hand, the light they emit is intense enough to make our bodies believe it’s still daytime and that, for this same reason, we need to remain alert. On the other hand, the constant state of attention and distraction such devices require of us already diametrically oppose the state of calm required to enter into an effective rest.

Hide the face of your alarm clock
There may be one screen you can’t simply expel from your room: that digital clock that wakes you up in the morning. If this is the case, at least turn it so that the light – even if it’s a scarce light – faces away from you. If you use your cell phone, keep it as far away from you as possible when sleeping and turn it so that the screen faces down.

If you sleep with the heat on, set it to a lower temperature
Contrary to what’s commonly believed, the best temperature for sleeping is not particularly warm, but rather cool. If you sleep with the heat on or set to turn on at some point during the night, try to keep the average room temperature between 54 and 75 degrees F (12 – 23 degrees C).

Cover windows with totally opaque curtains
As we’ve seen above, one essential factor for a good night’s sleep is the near total absence of light. If at all possible, cover the windows of your bedroom with darker curtains to ensure absolute darkness.

Avoid sleeping with pets
Lots of people make a habit of sleeping with pets, in the same room and even in the same bed. Pets, however, follow sleep cycles very different from those of humans. Both dogs and cats will often wake up and move several times during the night. If this is the case with your own pets and you really want to take advantage of a night of sleep, you may need to reconsider having pets in the bedroom.

Replace your mattress and pillows, and always sleep with clean bedding
Several studies have pointed out the importance of renewing all your sleeping accessories. The useful life of a mattress is normally about 10 years, depending on its quality. Pillows likely need to be replaced every two years. Likewise, hygiene in sheets, duvets, blankets, pajamas and any other bedding helps to ensure restful and healthy nights, as a clean environment is more welcoming.

Always make your bed
A habit as simple as making the bed can affect your overall disposition toward rest. Getting home to find your bed well-made can be much more encouraging toward sleep than is finding a bed in chaos and then trying to accommodate yourself to that same chaos. If you doubt this, a study by the National Sleep Foundation found evidence: the quality of sleep improved in people who adjusted themselves to the habit of making their bed every morning.

In conclusion, sleep and rest need their own times and circumstances, perhaps even a conciliatory ritual. In light of the prevailing mood, perhaps to sleep, we need to dare to accept the fact that we want it and we need it.

 

 

*Image: Public Domain