Missing out on sleep can lead to more serious problems than yawning or needing an extra cup of coffee the next morning; not getting deep, restful sleep can have serious health consequences. But people with chronic sleeping problems often don’t know that simple lifestyle changes can often help them get to sleep more easily and sleep more soundly. Here are a few ideas to try if you’ve had trouble sleeping:
- Reschedule Your Eating
Americans typically eat small breakfasts (or skip the meal altogether), moderate lunches and large dinners. There are numerous reasons dieticians recommend changing this habit, but few people know that better eating patterns can help you get better sleep, as well. Try eating a smaller dinner, reallocating those calories (if you need them) earlier in the day, and not eating at all right before bed. This will prevent uncomfortable stomach distension and heartburn, which can interrupt sleep.
- Get Better Exercise
Even if you feel tired after a long day at the office, you may have trouble getting to sleep. If this is the case, assess your level of physical activity. One recent study shows that the ideal time to exercise is the morning. In the study, carried out by Appalachian State, participants who exercised at 7 a.m. spent up to 75% longer in deep sleep that night. This is the stage of sleep in which the body can heal, so it’s extremely important. Remember that it’s vital you warm up before a morning workout; because your muscles have had less time to loosen up as they do over the course of the day, skipping this step in the morning can lead to serious injury.
- Choose an Ergonomic or Adjustable Bed
If you find yourself falling asleep on the couch or recliner every night only to get in bed and have trouble getting restful sleep, you may need to consider alternatives to a traditional flat mattress. A completely horizontal mattress doesn’t provide even support for your spine — which is S-shaped — sometimes causing sleepers to continually shift in an attempt to find a comfortable sleeping position. Side sleeping may be equally problematic, however, since it can cut off blood circulation and hamper breathing. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 15% of Americans have chronic pain related to improper sleeping positions. Adjustable beds may provide better sleep comfort, since you can customize the shape at several points to accommodate the curvature of your body. Adjustable bed mattresses come in several types, including memory foam, so there’s even more opportunity for personalization.
Do you know of any other tips that can help people sleep better at night? Share and discuss in the comments.