Never underestimate the simple joy of a full night of deep sleep. When you finally awake, you feel well rested, content, and ready to start the day. If this scene sounds more like a dream than a memory to you, we encourage you to learn how to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep isn’t just a way to rest and reenergize your body; it also impacts your health in a variety of ways. Loss of sleep impairs your problem-solving skills, increases irritability, and places you at greater risk for depression. It also increases your risk for obesity, heart disease, and infection. And unfortunately, as we age, we tend to have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Use the tips below if you’re wondering how to get a good night’s sleep every night.
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Create a sleep-friendly environment.
According to a sleep expert at the Harvard Medical School, you should be aiming to create a “quiet, dark, cool environment,” as these characteristics “promote sleep onset.” So first, turn down your AC (the ideal temperature for sleep is said to be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit). Then, assess your environment. If it’s loud, find ways to lower the volume if possible, or consider investing in a white noise machine. If it’s too bright, install light-blocking curtains. Finally, you may wish to purchase a more comfortable mattress or bedding.
Use relaxation techniques at bedtime.
It can difficult for the body to suddenly go from activity to sleep, so give yourself some time to relax and wind down. You may wish to take a warm bath or shower, and then put on your pajamas to signal to your body that it’s time for bed. You could also play calming music and do deep breathing exercises (inhaling slowly and deeply, then exhaling) to relax.
Create and adhere to a sleep schedule.
An erratic schedule is not ideal for people who suffer from insomnia. Create a bedtime and stick to it, making sure that you give yourself enough time for a full night’s sleep before you need to wake up. In general, most people need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night. So if you like to wake up at 7:00am, try to get to bed around 10:00 or 11:00pm. Aim to be in bed and ready for sleep at your appointed bedtime because it’s very easy to push back sleep (and lose out on a full night’s rest) if you allow yourself to watch TV, read a book, or play a game on your phone at bedtime. Do those activities earlier in the night.
Avoid eating and drinking close to bedtime.
Try to schedule your bedtime for at least two to three hours after you eat dinner, as it can be difficult to sleep on a full stomach. That said, it can also be hard to fall asleep if you’re hungry. So if you often feel your stomach grumbling at bedtime, try eating a small and healthy snack (like an apple with cheese) before bed. In addition, avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and sugar.
Exercising boosts your body’s natural sleep hormones, including melatonin. Don’t exercise right before bed, as this is more stimulating than relaxing. Instead, try to get moving in the morning. A regular exercise routine can really boost your sleep routine.
Finally, if you’re using all these tips but still struggling to fall asleep each night, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can provide personalized advice and may recommend that you begin taking a sleep medication.
If you’re looking for a new home where you can enjoy your golden years, check out The Shores of Lake Phalen in Maplewood, Minnesota. Located in a wooded setting near two lakes, our community offers apartment-style housing with the atmosphere and elegance of a resort. Thanks to the team of dedicated staff members, residents enjoy a carefree lifestyle without the common worries of running a household. Schedule a tour to explore our community or give us a call at 651-777-7784. We look forward to hearing from you!