We all know that we need sleep to stay healthy and happy, but what exactly affects how well we sleep? Here is a list of 10 factors that affect sleep:
Light is the number one factor in whether or not you will get good sleep. Even if you aren’t consciously aware of it, light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime.
This means when it gets dark outside, your brain tells itself that it’s time to go to bed. If there are bright lights shining in through your windows or scrolling across the walls from passing cars, then you’re going to have trouble falling asleep.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to draw the curtains and turn off anything with a screen an hour before bed. You could even invest in a good pair of blackout curtains to make sure the light stays out.
Noise is also a big factor when it comes to getting good sleep, and for some people, these two factors go hand-in-hand. Just like light, noise tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime and not time to sleep yet.
Although total silence isn’t recommended for sleeping either (you do need some noise), you want to try and limit noises as much as possible while sleeping.
If you can hear cars driving by or dogs barking or construction outside your window then it may be harder for you get good quality sleep during the night. Try using earplugs if these noises are bothersome to you, or invest in a white noise machine.
Exercise is good for the body at any time of day, but it’s especially good to do right before going to bed. A half-hour workout can help boost your metabolism and release those feel-good endorphins that will have you sleeping soundly once you finally get into bed. Make sure not to exercise too close to bedtime though as this may actually cause more stress instead of helping with sleep.
Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided altogether really, but if you’re going to have some before bed then make sure it’s limited. Both of these substances can disrupt your sleep later on because they take a long time for the body to process out. Even if you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, those drinks could come back to haunt you later on in the night. Want a better alternative? Try some warm milk or herbal tea before bed instead!
Stress is an inevitable part of life as we know it, but that doesn’t mean you should let it affect your sleep routine. If stress feels like a looming cloud over your head at all times during the day and keeps you awake at night then make sure to try and alleviate this stress before going to bed. Some people love meditation or prayer, while others prefer a hot bath with some lavender essential oil adding a calming scent. Make sure to go to bed when you feel like you’ve successfully unwound and your mind is ready to relax.
You spend about a third of every day in your bed, so why not make it a place that your body loves? Try using a comfortable mattress and pillow while keeping the sheets fresh and clean to ensure maximum comfort during naptime.
If you’re worried about how much time you’re spending in bed then take some steps to get more restful sleep instead of worrying about how many hours you have been sleeping. You should also make sure to keep your room dark and cool while sleeping.
Anything from an uncomfortable temperature to too much light can keep us up at night, which can definitely affect our mood during the day!
Having a bedtime routine is a great way to make sure your body gets the hint it’s time for sleep. This might mean taking a hot bath, reading before bed, or meditating before hitting the hay. Our bodies really do respond well to consistency and if you can program yours to get ready for bed at the same time each night then you’re already halfway there! Try adding in an hour of wind-down time just like this for yourself and see how much better you feel when you wake up in the morning.
The foods that we eat affect our quality of sleep too, so try to lay off on anything super spicy or acidic right before bedtime because this could leave us awake all night long. Stay away from things with lots of caffeine, alcohol or sugar if you want to avoid common sleep issues.
One major factor that can affect our sleep is the environment around us. Noise, light and even smells can keep us up at night so make sure your bedroom is optimized for nighttime relaxation.
Keep any noise out with earplugs or a white noise machine if need be, close the shades or pull down the blinds on windows letting in too much sunlight and try using an essential oil diffuser to relax before bedtime with some lavender oil filling the air with calmness.
Sleep medications/other substances
Of course, one thing that affects our ability to get restful sleep is whether or not we are taking any kind of sleep medication. Some of these can be pretty effective but talk with your doctor before stopping any kind of sleep pill to see what might be a good alternative for you! You should also think about how much caffeine is in other substances you might be taking, from energy drinks to medications so always check the label first.
Why is sleep quality important?
Sleep is very important for our bodies and minds because it provides a time for the body to recover from the day before, release any hormones that help regulate moods and give us more energy.
Not getting enough good rest could lead to weight gain, memory issues, and even a weaker immune system just to name a few scary side-effects! It’s definitely worth it to take steps in order to get a good night’s rest every single day.
There are many other factors that can affect our sleep like the air we breathe, what time of day it is and whether or not we are ill but these 10 should be a good start to make sure you’re doing all you can for good rest every single night.
Of course, if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or struggling to get enough sleep every night then it might be time to start looking for a solution.
Talk with your doctor to see what they recommend or try using an app like Sleep Cycle, which monitors the motion of your body during sleep and wakes you up at exactly the right moment in your sleep cycle so you can wake up feeling refreshed.
Getting a good night’s rest every night is the key to a healthy lifestyle so take these tips to heart and get ready for sweet dreams!