Wondering how to get more sleep. So many of us feel this way, but how do we get more and better sleep? It has to do with sleep hygiene.
Sleep is the foundation of our health. It has been said that if the power of sleep were sold in a pill, it would be banned as a performance-enhancing drug. Getting high-quality shuteye improves countless aspects of your daily life. Some examples include your body composition, cognitive abilities, mood, and performance in sports and at the gym. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it improves countless bodily functions, and more sleep benefits are continually being discovered.
Chances are, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You see, sleep has recently been getting a lot of praise for its health benefits in our lives. Plus, we know we feel better when we sleep well, right?
So what’s the problem? Why can't we get sleep well?
The answer is pretty straightforward, and also probably not a surprise. For most of us, it’s our busy lives. Whether that is work or school, picking up the kids from practice, making dinner, having a social life, going to the gym, or simply wanting to have a moment to relax at the end of the day watching Netflix or scrolling on TikTok.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
The common recommendation for hours of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours. One thing to note here is that is time slept, not simply time spent in bed, and for some of you restless sleepers that certainly makes it more difficult to get enough sleep. Even if you feel like you sleep soundly through the night, there’s a good chance you need to subtract a minimum of about 30 minutes to an hour from the time you went to bed to the time you woke up to find the amount of time you actually spent asleep (unless you have a device that measures that for you).
Getting seven to nine hours of sleep can feel like a long time, and maybe difficult to pull off, especially when you consider it's more likely we're spending eight to 10 hours in bed. While this is the number to shoot for it is important to remember that sleep quality is often as important, if not more so, than quantity. Now, we're not suggesting that you get four really awesome hours of sleep and call it a night; we're saying it's important to not only get more sleep, but better sleep.
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How to Improve Your Sleep
Make sure your room is cool at night
Turn that AC on or open a window if the temperature outside is just right. You ideally want your room to be somewhere between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. When you go to bed, your body cools itself in order to fall asleep. By keeping your room cooler, you make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Limit blue light before bed
Blue light, which typically comes from our phones, laptops, and TVs, keeps our brain alert. By viewing blue lights late at night, our brain is stimulated and has a harder time getting quality sleep at night. One thing you can do is turn off the blue light on your phone, but more importantly, avoid screens at least an hour before bed. Spend the time reading, taking a bath, or doing something else that helps you wind down before bed.
Set a schedule
This one can be difficult, but it is so important. Establish a consistent schedule: go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning. It is important your body knows when it can expect to rest in order to recover well and develop a consistent rhythm. You will begin to find you become tired at the same time each night, and may even begin to wake up without an alarm.
These bits of habits and hygiene should help improve your sleep, but what about getting more of it? How do you pull that off?
How to Get More Sleep
Getting more sleep is not necessarily a question for science. It's more about time management. Getting more sleep requires a bit of sacrifice. The important thing to note, though, is that the sacrifice is always worth it because of the improvement of your overall health.
Maybe this looks like one hour less of Netflix each night. Or maybe you decide that you are going to go to bed at 10 pm on weekends instead of 2 am. Maybe you find yourself spending a lot of time cooking dinner each night and that makes it take longer to get to bed. (We can help with that! Consider meal prepping during the weekend to save time and make these Easy Meals to Meal Prep This Week.)
The bottom line? Prioritizing sleep is crucial for not only your short-term health but your long-term health as well. While life certainly can get in the way, try and minimize those instances. Your future self will thank you.
Just as with nutrition and exercising, the goals around sleep aren't about achieving perfection. It's about making different choices and creating good habits that can change your sleep. And your life!
Feel free to reach out with any questions or leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you about your sleep struggles and questions. In the meantime . . . . Sweet dreams!