Sleep affects how we feel, both physically and emotionally. Our days are often filled with stress, which, over time, can have an impact on our mental health. By improving how well you sleep, you can improve how you feel all day long.
How Sleep Impacts Us
It's easy to notice how sleep influences us when we spend our nights tossing and turning. Our ability to concentrate is diminished, similar to being drunk. You may make poor decisions and suffer from impaired memory. It's common to feel hungry all day, overeat carbohydrates, and still crave more. Moods take a turn for the worse, and even our health can suffer if sleeplessness continues. Energy plummets, and we may not feel able to exercise. All of the above causes stress, which can further the cycle of not sleeping well at night. It's important to take steps to increase your chances of getting a good night’s rest.
Eat to Sleep
Our food habits can have a positive or negative effect on how well we sleep. It is widely advised to lower our caffeine and alcohol consumption, but we can also add to our diet to improve our nights. All poultry contains tryptophan, which can make us feel sleepy and ready for bed; milk and milk products have the same amino acid. Look to foods high in natural serotonin, as well. These include the kiwi, which studies suggest help people fall (and stay) asleep. Melatonin is another boon, so add a glass of tart cherry juice to your nightly routine. You don't need to overhaul your diet; instead, make a few subtle changes to keep your body and mind rested.
Enhance Your Bedroom
Your bedroom may not be as relaxing as you need it to be. Creating the right sleep environment can lower your stress at night. If the sunlight leaks through your curtains, it may be waking you prematurely. Getting blackout curtains can help you stay asleep longer by keeping your room dark. Additionally, you may need to make your room quieter. Noise, after all, is a common disturbance at night. Earplugs can go a long way, as can a noise machine. The important thing is to make your bedroom comfortable for you. Lastly, keep your chambers nice and cool when you go to bed, as this signals to your body that it's time to sleep.
If it's discomfort that's keeping you awake, it might be time to stop by a reputable chiropractor. This doesn't just mean back pain; neck pain and headaches can be treated as well, which can then improve your sleep at night. You might be able to get valuable information from your chiropractor as well. After being treated, they may have suggestions for what pillow or mattress to use and what position could keep your spine in good shape. It's an affordable solution, not only to rest better each night but to remove pain from your days.
Meditate to Relieve Stress
Pain isn't the only irritation that can keep us awake. Stress can lay heavy upon us and not let us have any peace at night. Thankfully, meditation and similar mindfulness techniques can lower stress and help us experience it less frequently. Mindful thinking encourages us to be aware of our thoughts, to accept them, and give us distance. In fact, studies indicate that insomniacs can be better rested by incorporating meditation into their daily routines. It really only takes a few minutes every day to make your nights more restful.
Our mental health is as important as our physical wellness. By investing in the quality of our sleep, we can improve both. Take the steps you need to get a better night's rest tonight.
- Jennifer McGregor