If someone told you that one simple thing could improve your life in so many areas - everything from increased mood and energy to athletic performance and improved immunity - you would likely jump at the chance to find out what it is. Yet most people still don’t put much effort into fixing this one problem that can have a major impact on their life - improving their quality of sleep.
In so many ways, sleep is the key to living a healthy life, but most people either don’t get enough sleep or suffer from poor quality of sleep. That’s why, in 2008, the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) and the World Sleep Federation (WSF) founded World Sleep Day as a way to advance sleep health worldwide.
Sleep is one of the most basic necessities to human survival and living a healthy life. According to one study, 153 volunteers had their sleep duration and sleep efficiency (the percent of time spent in bed when they are actually asleep) monitored for 14 days. The results showed that those with less than seven hours of sleep per night were nearly three times more likely to develop a cold compared to those who received at least eight hours of sleep. And those with poor sleep efficiency were five and a half times more likely to get a cold.
Poor sleep can affect the immune system in a number of other ways, from lowering the efficacy of vaccines to increasing the likelihood of an allergy attack. It has even been linked to diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, and depression.
So, what are some of the ways that you can improve your quality of sleep?
1. Reducing both your caffeine and alcohol intake
Reducing the amount of caffeine you consume can help you achieve a more restful sleep. Caffeine can remain in the body for many hours after consumption, which can impact the amount of time spent in deep sleep.
Alcohol consumption often can reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, but it will likely disrupt your sleep later in the night, leading to a restless night without any restorative sleep.
2.Try exposing yourself to more bright, blue light early in the day and less at night
One of the main cues that helps alert your internal clock that it's time to go to sleep is light. Artificial and blue light can affect your natural circadian rhythm, so one trick to shift your internal rhythm is by spending more time in front of bright, blue light earlier in the day and less at night. Doing so can be helpful in falling asleep earlier.
3. Stick to a sleep schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Try not to vary too greatly on weekends. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to get good, consistent sleep.
4. Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can help to promote good sleep. However, try to avoid strenuous activities closer to bedtime as this can actually have a negative effect on your sleep.
5. Give cryotherapy a try
Cryotherapy is a centuries-old practice of using sub-zero temperatures that may help your body in a number of ways, including potentially optimizing sleep. And the best part? A whole body cryo session is only 2-3 minutes!
Getting a good night’s sleep can have a dramatic impact on your overall well being. And with just a few simple adjustments you’ll be on your way to a healthier life!