Sleep is such a crucial and essential part of life. In fact, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping. Quality and quantity play a considerable role in efficient sleep, which is why experts recommend 7-9 hours a night. When we prioritize sleep and lean into its benefits, we look and feel better, giving us that fresh-from-the-inside-out-glow. 

However, getting a good night’s sleep does more than just help us to look our best. It benefits all other areas in our life making it a major pillar for mental and physical wellness. Consistent, proper sleep provides many benefits such as: decreases inflammation in the body, improves cognitive function and productivity, increases energy, helps manage stress, and enhances mood.   

Are you having trouble falling asleep? According to experts, 10 to 20 minutes is the usual amount of time it should take someone to fall asleep. If it takes you more than 30 minutes to drift off, keep reading for a few ways to enhance your sleep performance and increase overall sleep health. 

Reach for assistance:

Magnesium is one of the leading supplements that support deep sleep and will help you fall asleep quickly. Its ability to calm the nervous system and relax the muscles make for a useful supplement. A few other supplements that you may want to try to help you sleep better include valerian root, ginkgo biloba, glycine, L-theanine, and lavender. 

Set up your sleep space:

Change up your sleep space. The spring and cushion of a bed break down over time. If your bed is more than 10 years old, it might be time to replace it with something more supportive. In addition to a new bed, if your sheets and pillows are more than two years old, go ahead and replace them as well. Not only is this good health-wise, but this also provides an opportunity to freshen up your space! It’s also important to take note of the temperature in your bedroom.  Research shows that we sleep best when the thermostat is set between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are a warm sleeper, try wearing socks as it will pull heat from your core. Plants are also known to improve sleep significantly. Revamp your space by adding a snake plant to help purify the air or jasmine that will support deep sleep. Scents also work wonders in helping you doze off. Try defusing some floral or earth scents like lavender, clary sage, cedarwood, bergamot, or roman chamomile. Last but not least: keep your sleep space clean and calm. Get rid of unnecessary clutter to decrease stress. Your sleep space should be your little oasis.  

Stick to a schedule:

Having a sleep schedule is crucial to stay well-rested. A consistent schedule activates our internal alarm clock that, over time, makes it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. Make an effort to wake up and go to sleep at the same time during the week. Allow for a little wiggle room on the weekends if you desire. 

Get exhausted:

Exercise and, more specifically, muscle exhaustion play a considerable role in enhancing our sleep performance. The more we are able to incorporate regular exercise into our routine, the better set up we are for optimal health. An exercise regimen creates a ripple effect that leads to longevity, healthier habits, and overall well being. It is also important to acknowledge the importance of variety in a weekly workout routine. Make sure to have light, medium, and heavy workout days with various levels of intensity.

Say “no”:

Eating late, consuming caffeine late in the day, drinking alcohol, or using nicotine are just a few of the sleep killers. They also inhibit our ability to enter a REM cycle, which ideally takes up 20-25% of our sleep. Avoid eating after 8 pm to allow enough time for your body to digest. Drinking alcohol or using nicotine within four hours of going to bed will interrupt the sleep cycle because your liver will still be breaking down the sugars and enzymes instead of helping the body rest and restore. If you must drink or use nicotine, do so earlier in the day. 

Opt-out:

Limit screen time by taking a break from blue light after 9 pm. This will give your eyes a chance to acclimate to a new light setting. Instead of being on a computer, phone, or in front of any electronics, try winding down with a book, journaling, meditation, breathwork, or a relaxing bubble bath.

Cuddle up:

If given the chance, sleep next to someone you love. Sleeping next to someone helps you fall asleep faster and improves the quality of sleep. It also helps to attain more restorative sleep, reduce blood pressure, improve the immune system, reduce inflammation, and slow down aging. Not to mention, it can improve happiness and enhance your connection.  

Conclusion:

When you prioritize consistent, high-quality sleep, your mind and body are prepared to function better. Sleep affects almost every tissue and system in the body, including the brain, lungs, metabolism, heart, immune function, disease resistance, and mood. The inside reflects the outside. Everyone needs sleep. We cannot function without it. Make an effort to sleep better so that you can live a healthier, happier life.

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