Tips for a better night's rest...
Even if you are physically fit and can finish a triathlon, you will start to lag behind if you don’t get a good night’s sleep. There are plenty of reasons why you may be getting a poor night of sleep, but the good news is a lot of them can be easily fixed. Here is a look at some of the reasons you may not be sleeping so well.
You sleep on your stomach.
- This forces your head and neck into an unnatural position in order for you to breathe. This particular position applies pressure to your neck and spine. Over the course of time, this can turn into regular pain.
You sleep in a fetal position.
- This position may actually affect your ability to breathe. When you do not get enough oxygen, you are generally breathing harder than necessary.
You do not maintain a regular bedtime time.
- Sporadic bedtimes throw off the natural rhythm of your body.
You sleep in on the weekends. See above.
You go to bed on a full stomach
- This may upset your stomach, which could interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
You drink alcohol before you go to bed.
- It is no secret that alcohol will help you fall asleep. However, it can also keep you from falling into REM sleep. A lot of people are restless throughout the night after consuming alcohol.
You only use your pillows to rest your head.
- If you sleep on your back, try placing a pillow under your knees. If you are a side sleeper, try placing a pillow at your abdomen and put your topside arm over it. Both of these positions will take pressure off your shoulders and keep your spine straight.
Your pillow is too flat.
- The purpose of a sleeping pillow is to provide support to both your neck and head. If your pillow has become flat and lifeless, then it is time to get a new one. When your neck and head are not properly aligned with your spine, there is a good chance you will start to experience back pain or neck pain.
Your mattress is worn out.
- Just like pillows, every mattress will wear out. If your mattress starts to become lumpy and caves in where you lay, then you could be putting pressure on your spine. A mattress is intended to support your entire body. Some experts suggest that a mattress replacement every ten years.
Your mattress is too hard or soft.
- Your height and weight affect how well your mattress supports your body. If you are overweight and your mattress is soft, you will sink into the mattress too much and not get the proper support. If you are lighter in weight and sleep on a hard mattress, then the mattress will not give or compress in the areas that it should. That will provide your body with poor support.
Your room is too hot or too cold.
- The optimal room temperature for sleeping should be between 54° and 74° F. The most comfortable temperature varies according to the individual. Many studies suggest the most optimal temperature is 66° F.
You’re sleeping on plastic.
- Synthetic fibers do not breathe as well as natural fibers. Meanwhile, plastic mattress covers, foam mattresses, cotton/poly sheets, synthetic sheets (satin) and pajamas do not wick moisture away from your body. Natural fibers, such as cotton or linen, are better choices for bedding fabrics. Natural fibers assist in regulating your bed temperature, which leads to a more comfortable night of sleep.
You fall asleep on the couch.
- Couches were not designed the same way as beds and they were not meant to be slept on all night. A couch simply fails to provide proper support for your body. And if you get up in the middle of the night to stumble back to your bedroom, then you are interrupting your sleep.
You fall asleep with the TV on.
- The TV can be a sleep deterrent. Light and sound can both activate brain wave activity.
You go to bed with your laptop or cell phone – see above.
You keep a night light on or do not close your blinds.
- See - you fall asleep with the TV on (above).
You immediately get into bed after you shut off the TV.
- In most instances, your brain will continue to process whatever it was that you were just watching. It is a good idea to wait at least a half-hour after shutting off the TV before you hop into bed. That 30 minutes will help clear your mind.
You watch TV in bed.
- Studies have proven that individuals who watch television or work on their laptop in bed take longer to fall asleep. This is based on the idea that the brain associates these activities with the bed. That is why it is recommended that you leave your work and entertainment out of the bedroom.
Your pet or children sleep in your bed.
- There are not many beds that have been designed to accommodate three or more guests. A crowded bed could interfere with your sleep.
You drink caffeinated products too late in the day.
- To alleviate this potential issue, you should halt your consumption of caffeine at least 8 hours before going to bed.
Making some of these changes to your bedtime routine will not only keep you in the race, but it will put you much closer to taking the lead.
Great bedding can help your sleep experience as well.
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