10 Ways You Can Get Better Sleep
It's 7:00 AM and your alarm goes off. It went off ten minutes ago, but you couldn't pull yourself out of bed. You still feel like you can't, so you hit the snooze button one more time, roll over, and pray your coffee maker was set correctly the night before so you can get some caffeine in your system ASAP.
Sound familiar? When it comes to modern day living, sleep can feel like a scarce commodity. We often go through our days already exhausted right off the starting line.
Sometimes improving the quality of your sleep means making a few lifestyle adjustments and taking a good look at what you're sleeping on every night. Here are 10 ways you can get back to giving your body and mind the rest they need to wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to go in the morning.
While exercise is a great way to help relieve any tension, stress, and anxiety that may be keeping you up at night, getting a good work out in can physiologically improve your sleep too. Exercise can trigger longer periods of slow-wave sleep which is the deepest and most restorative phase of sleep you can get each night. Still not enough to get you to the gym? Polls have found that people who exercise regularly, even if they don’t get any more sleep than those who don’t, actually report better quality of sleep which means they wake up feeling better than their non-exercising counterparts. Go break a sweat!
- Find the Perfect Pillow
Do you wake up feeling like your neck is stiff in the middle of the night? Maybe your shoulder hurts from laying on it, and you toss and turn frequently. These problems can be solved by finding the perfect pillow. It may take a little experimentation before you find the right fit, but once you do, your body will thank you.
- Clean Up Your Diet
It's probably not much of a surprise that the pizza you ate yesterday wasn't sitting well by the time you brushed your teeth before bed. Ditch inflammatory foods, sugar, and anything else that could be causing sleep disturbances like acid reflux and indigestion for a better rest.
- Reduce Stress
Feeling a little worried about that project that's due early next week? From work to relationships to difficulties with finances, reducing stress is often easier said than done. You might have to think outside the box a little, but coming up with ways you can change your lifestyle to reduce stress can help rest your mind and relax your body when it's time for sleep.
- Cut The Caffeine
No one wants to hear that they should give up their morning java, especially if they're already feeling like they need a jump start. But if you're having sleep trouble, it's important to consider reducing your caffeine consumption, particularly within 6 hours of bedtime. You might not notice a difference right away, but if you dodge caffeine for a few days, you'll probably find you're sleeping better.
- Use a High-Quality, All-Natural Mattress
Cheaping out on your mattress purchase means you could be cheating yourself out of some invaluable, high-quality sleep time. When shopping for a mattress, it's important to find one that's made from all-natural materials so that you can avoid any off-gassing from petroleum-based foams that can smell harsh and reduce your sleep quality. To top it off, synthetic fibers like memory foam and polyester make it harder for our bodies to regulate their temperatures. Shoot for mattresses and toppers made out of natural fibers like ecofoam, natural latex, cotton and wool so you can sleep easier and more comfortably.
- Consider a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety
If anxious thoughts are keeping you up at night, a weighted blanket might be the perfect fit for you. Weighted blankets work by providing deep pressure touch stimulation without uncomfortable restriction. The deep pressure from the weight of the blanket causes the body to produce serotonin and endorphins all night long while you sleep. Serotonin and endorphins are necessary to help us feel relaxed and calm.
- Say Goodbye to Screen Time Before Bed
Studies have found that people who use phones, iPads, light-emitting eReaders and other similar devices at bedtime take longer to fall asleep and have disrupted circadian rhythms. If you're going to read before bed to relax, stick to books and ditch the screen.
- Keep Your Bedroom Cool
Don't make it so cold that you're uncomfortable, but research suggests sleeping in cooler environments as low as 66 degrees can help you sleep better.
- Reduce Clutter in Your Bedroom
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, says "A messy room equals a messy mind". If your sleeping space is cluttered and full of distractions, you might have trouble relaxing and getting to sleep. Clear the clutter and see what happens!
Sleep is something that directly impacts your life every day. Keep up to date on all the latest and greatest tips for getting the best sleep by subscribing to our newsletter here!
Your Clean Green Laundry Routine
Toxins and unwanted chemicals lie in more places than you might think, and when it comes to bedding and linens, the last thing you want is to sleep in residue all night long. Naturally laundering your linens and avoiding harsh chemicals benefits you and your local environment in a number of ways. If you're looking to clean up your laundry routine, here are some natural practices you might like to consider:
Use Vinegar and Wool Dryer Balls
Fabric softener and dryer sheets are perhaps one of the biggest offenders in conventional laundry practices. Quaternary ammonium compounds, called "quats" for short, are the chemical compounds found in liquid softeners and dryer sheets that make your clothes feel soft. The problem is that these compounds can trigger asthma and linger on the clothing you wear and linens you sleep in long after they've been removed from the dryer. That means you're carrying these chemicals with you all day and sleeping with them all night long. Combine quats with all the other fragrances, colors, and preservatives found in fabric softeners, and you've got yourself a wearable chemical cocktail that sticks to your clothes, pollutes the air in your home, and gets dumped right into your local water source with every wash.
The great news is that avoiding fabric softeners doesn't mean you have to wear stiff clothing or sleep in scratchy sheets. You can use vinegar in the washer and wool dryer balls instead to help soften your clothes and linens naturally. Wool contains a natural oil called lanolin that is released from its fibers when heated by your dryer. As an added bonus, if you want to naturally scent your clothing, just put a few drops of your favorite essential oils right onto your wool dryer balls before each cycle. Most wool dryer balls are about the size of a baseball and can be purchased online, or you can make them yourself by balling up and felting some 100% wool yarn.
Sun Your Stains Out
Chemical bleaches and stain removers might be effective at removing stains, but they are harmful for the environment, harsh to breathe in, and can damage your skin if you accidentally come into direct contact with them. Did you know that you can actually remove stains by drying your clothes and linens out in the sun? Even some of the most stubborn stains can be bleached out in a sunbath. The next time you have a rough morning and spill your coffee on your shirt, don't sweat it. Save yourself the cash, time, and hassle of dealing with stain removers by simply hanging your stained fabric outside in full sun after it's just come out of the washer. Usually, two to three hours will do the trick. Keep in mind that sun bleaching is often more effective when the fabric is wet, so even if you don't want to wash the whole thing, wet down the stained area before hanging your fabric out in the sun to get the best results from this all-natural, chemical-free, age-old stain removing method.
Consider Natural Laundry Detergents
Fortunately for conscious consumers, new all-natural laundry detergents are being added to the market all the time. You can find a small selection at almost any grocery store, and if you're someone who enjoys an occasional DIY project, you can even make natural laundry detergent yourself! There are all sorts of easy DIY laundry soap recipes online, so you can experiment as much or as little as you please to find whatever concoction works best for you.
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