The Rest You Deserve
Sleep is the foundation of life. Without sleep, we’re going to feel like zombies shuffling around on autopilot all day. Research shows that not getting enough sleep can cause us to be less alert and affect our ability to think. It can also make us moody, which is another hindrance to being a fully functional human being. For too many of us, sleep is one of the first things to go when we’re stressed out. We stay up late and worry over due dates at work or relationship stress rather than just relaxing and letting our body do what it needs to do. We deserve rest, and we have to step up and take measures to ensure that we get enough of it.
Modern life offers more distractions than at any point in human history. Twenty years ago, people could stay up late and read a book. They can still do that, but it’s more likely that they’ll stay up late and stare at their smartphone. Researchers have linked using a smartphone at bedtime with worse sleep quality as well as a longer amount of time needed to fall asleep in the first place. The light from your smartphone’s screen may trick the body into thinking it should stay awake when it’s actually time to go to sleep. So what can you do to fight back? Keep your smartphone as far away from the bed as possible. If you use it as an alarm, consider buying an old-fashioned alarm clock instead. Think of it as a time to unplug your brain. Your text messages and emails will still be there when you wake up in the morning. If possible, set a deadline for when you stop using your phone every night. It could be ten p.m., midnight, or some other time. Just figure out what works for you and do your best to stick with it. If you catch yourself sneaking a glance at an app on your phone, don’t give up and spend all night on the device; just put it down and try to focus on something. A physical book or magazine is a good distraction.
Check your surroundings
If sleep still won’t come, check and make sure that you’re in a comfortable environment. Are your pillows flat and uncomfortable? If so, it’s time for an upgrade. Some people are fine with traditional pillows, but there are other options. Water-based pillows fared well in a johns hopkins sleep study that also looked at standard pillows and roll pillows. Try a few different models and see what works for you. If your mattress is old and sagging, it’s time to find a new one. Cheap mattresses typically aren’t as durable, so it’s time to consider spending a bit more money to have a mattress that really makes a difference in your sleep quality.
Be aware of possible medical issues as well. Waking up with dull, persistent headache or a sore jaw can mean you’re dealing with nighttime teeth grinding. That may merit a visit to a dentist like the ones you’ll find at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. Once a dentist checks things out, he or she can often fit you for a mouth guard that will keep your mouth from engaging in any nocturnal grinding.