Getting enough sleep is critical to maintaining health. Quality and quantity (7 to 8 hours a night) sleep improves memory, mood, productivity, and immunity, among other things. Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to get that quantity and quality of sleep. Stress, busyness, insomnia, frequent waking can all get in the way. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep—and your health! Here are five essentials to help you get a good night’s rest:
1. Stick to a schedule
Healthy adults need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. The best way to get that sleep is to create a sleep schedule that includes going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends. (If you do have to vary your weekend schedule, try not to do so by more than an hour.) To create your schedule, start with planning the morning wake time. Figure out what time you’d have to wake up in order to do everything a normal morning routine requires: showering, eating breakfast, getting kids ready, packing a lunch, and so on. Then work backwards from there to see what time you’ll need to go to bed each night in order to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Keeping a schedule will help regulate your body’s internal clock, which in turn will make falling asleep and waking up easier. To help you look forward to your going-to-bed routine each night, consider diffusing a relaxing blend of essential oils for the 15 to 20 minutes before going to bed.
Try a 1:1 blend of lavender and orange or a 1:1 blend of Roman chamomile and bergamot.
2. Evaluate what you eat
Take a look at what you eat and drink in the afternoons and evenings. Try not to eat too heavily in the 2 to 3 hours before sleep, as an overfull stomach can cause discomfort or heartburn. Most important, look at how much caffeine you consume. Try not to drink anything with caffeine in it after 2 p.m. The wakening effects of caffeine can last for hours and make it difficult to get to sleep. One study found that caffeine consumed as many as 6 hours before bedtime reduced both sleep quality and quantity.
3. Evaluate your surroundings and worries
In a survey by the American Psychological Association, researchers found that 42 percent of adults report having fair or poor sleep quality; of that percentage, nearly half report that stress is what is keeping them up at night. Simply identifying and writing down your stressors can lead to eliminating those things you don’t need in your life. Make a list of the top 10 things that are causing you stress and then pick 1 or 2 that can easily be eliminated by delegation, saying no, planning better, and so on.
Another cause of stress can be the environment you’re sleeping in. Make sure you sleep in a dark, quiet room free of screens—including your smart phone—or distracting LED lights. Run a fan or a noise machine to help soothe you. Reducing the temperature slightly at night can also lead to more restful sleep. A room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
4. Eliminate naps
Taking long naps during the day can interfere with quality sleep at night. When you feel fatigue setting in during the day, try going for a brisk walk or doing something active for 10 to 15 minutes instead of taking a nap. A number of essential oils can also reinvigorate you. Inhale the oils directly from the bottle or apply a drop or two of oil to your wrists and breathe in the scent.
Try any of these oils: orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, ginger, or siberian fir. If you want an energizing blend to diffuse during your afternoon slump, try 2 drops grapefruit, 1 drop lime, and 1 drop peppermint.
5. Exercise during the day
Regular physical activity leads to better quality sleep. Even if it’s just a 30-minute walk each day, physical activity can strengthen and reset your body—not to mention reduce stress—which can help you rest better at night.
Hope these 5 essentials help you get a better night's rest,
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