With sleep, consistency is key.
Last week, we wrote on the importance of sleep. This week, we focus on ways to help mitigate sleep issues. While we’re obvious proponents of moisture-wicking + cooling bedding to keep you cool and dry, we also know that other factors influence sleep. Sleep should be as important a health priority as anything else. We’re going to talk about your workout, your bedroom, and the importance of routine.
For this post, we focus on different ways to maximize sleep. We’ve covered the importance of creating a restful sleep environment, though again it’s worth mentioning that the room itself is almost as important as your bedding. Removing distractions from bed – phones, laptops, etc. – allows your body to maximize restorative sleep. Check out our other posts on the importance of your room as a sanctuary. For sufferers of night sweats and hot flashes, you know how important of a cool and dry sleep environment.
Furthermore, exercise is something not often immediately associated with helping to bring on sleep. “Although the exact mechanisms are unknown,” writes the Sleep Foundation, “there are many possibilities for how exercise may reduce insomnia severity. One way may be by the body-heating effects of exercise, especially when performed in the afternoon or later. Exercise triggers an increase in body temperature, and the post-exercise drop in temperature may promote falling asleep. Exercise may also reduce insomnia by decreasing arousal, anxiety and depressive symptoms.” Most recommend a mix of light to medium aerobic exercise as opposed to heavy weight lifting. Studies show that exercise decreases the time needed to fall asleep.
In addition, set a routine and do your best to follow it. Our bodies fall asleep more easily when their pattern is followed. Most recommend using light to your advantage, too. Get yourself used to sunlight and consistently let the light in your bedroom each morning. These steps help to anchor your internal clock. Naps and coffee later in the afternoon can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
For more on healthy sleep patterns, check out Harvard Med’s tips for getting the best sleep possible.
As always, sleep well, sleep wicked.