A good night's sleep is one of the most underrated elements of a healthy routine.
We have already discussed the amazing benefits of a good night's sleep. Now, here is our handy guide on how to achieve a comfortable and nurturing night of peaceful slumber.
1 - Teach your body a routine
Our body adapts. It is a highly sophisticated machine that can make almost anything work in its favour. However, the more it is accustomed to a routine, the more it will perfect its operations under those parameters. This can mean several things. The first, and most important, is to keep a regular sleeping schedule. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day, even if that means not sleeping in on weekends. It may sound terrifying, but it will teach your body the time it should expect to shut down. This will help you fall asleep as soon as your head touches the pillow, instead of spending 45 minutes rolling around. It is also important to be smart about napping. There is nothing wrong with a power nap, but make sure to not mess with your schedule.
2 - Be mindful of light
Light is the natural indicator that our body should be alert. This means it is your best friend for waking up and staying alert, and your worst enemy when it is time to go to bed. Enjoy the sunlight in the morning, even if it is a little annoying after just waking up. It will turbocharge your system and keep you from feeling drowsy. Conversely, make sure to keep the lights down in the evening. Don't stay in a brightly lit room right until it is time for bed. And, most important of all, try to not have backlit devices like phones and computer screens turned on 1 or 2 hours before bed. Just turn them off and pick up a book.
3 - Exercise and eat right
This, of course, is a good general advice, really. It is applicable to everything. But there are some ways to optimise what you put into your body and how you exercise to ensure healthy slumber. There are some things you definitely shouldn't ingest in the few hours before bedtime. Alcohol, heavy and fatty meals, and excess liquids can have terrible effects over the quality of sleep, such as nightmares, acid reflux and unexpected bathroom trips in the middle of the night.
Much in the same way, exercise should also be practiced with a decent amount of time before bed. It increases body temperature, the production of cortisol and it speeds up your metabolism. These things will make you more tired, which is good. But they will also keep your body alert for a while, so they should be timed appropriately. Also, it is good to keep in mind that even light exercise, like a leisurely walk, will have a positive effect on sleep quality.
4 - Learn how to trick your body
As we discussed at the top of the article, your body remembers routines, and they help tremendously in achieving results. Many people have rituals that may seem silly and pointless but actually help get them to the state of mind they want because they have integrated them into their routine. Basketball superstar Michael Jordan used to wear the same shorts under his team's gear every game to get him into a competitive mood. Writers have been known to write barefoot because it helps them focus. The activities themselves aren't the point, of course, it is the repetition that makes it work. So find out what works for you. Maybe it is reading a chapter of a novel. Maybe it is going for a neighbourhood walk. When you find something that works, keep repeating it until you integrate it into your day-to-day.
5 - Perfect your sleeping environment
The place where you actually lay your head to sleep is key in achieving that blissful restfulness that you need. A comfortable bed, a quiet room and, most especially, a proper pillow and quality bed linens. One of the most underrated aspects of achieving good sleep is bed linens. This is surprising, because once you think about it, it is obvious. Almost every centimetre of your body is directly in contact with your sheets. It is the decisive factor for your skin to tell your body it is safe. It helps control moisture and temperature, which are both fundamental.
So if you are willing to commit to perfecting your sleep, that is our final and most important recommendation: invest in quality bed linens. We can help you there.