Sleep is one of the most underrated necessities of a healthy lifestyle. In our society which favors work and productivity, quality sleep is something that is often put on the back burner. Poor sleep not only makes it harder to stay awake during the day, but it has also been linked to things like weight gain, immune dysfunction, and increased inflammation. With 67% of Americans Saying that they are under stress that negatively impacts their physical health, sleep problems are a very common byproduct of a society that is shrouded in turmoil. If you are looking to find alternatives to over the counter or prescription sleeping pills, there are many lifestyle changes that can be made to help you get quality sleep so you can feel better.
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The first thing to watch out for when trying to improve your sleep patterns? Sleep hygiene. According to The Sleep Foundation, strong “sleep hygiene” is defined as “having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep.”
There are many ways to improve your sleep hygiene, and believe it or not, that doesn’t always mean sleeping longer. “What’s important to understand is that the quality of sleep is more important than the quantity. Due to various lifestyle factors, many of us are overwhelmed and stressed, which leads to poor quality sleep. says Erin Mewshaw, clinical director of the New York Center for Innovative Medicine. Mewshaw says that first and foremost, good sleep hygiene starts with fine-tuning your wakefulness habits. Doing things like turning off electronics and eating your last meal 2-3 hours before bed and exercising every day are two things you can do to sleep better at night.
Apart from that, consistency in when and how you sleep are crucial parts of your sleep hygiene regimen. “Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time each morning creates a regular sleep pattern and strengthens your circadian rhythms,” says Mewshaw, “Plus, meditation or yoga before sleep can help establish a relaxing routine. It will also help reduce stress which contributes to insomnia at night.
If you’ve tweaked your daily and nighttime routines and are still looking for an extra boost, one of Mewshaw’s favorite supplements that she recommends for people with insomnia is tart cherry juice, which she says “Helps to naturally increase the production of melatonin in the body. This will help you fall asleep faster and provide deeper quality sleep. She recommends Rowe Casa’s tangy cherry juice as a good to try.
We often forget that sleep is just as important to a healthy life as a balanced diet and exercise. Ultimately, consistency and patience are the key to transforming the quality of your sleep. A healthy lifestyle upon awakening, combined with pre-sleep rituals and relaxation techniques, is the best way to sleep better and maximize overall well-being.