Good sleep is essential to overall health. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and quality sleep at that, is important for mental and emotional health, brain function, and physical health. Most people don’t get enough quality sleep. Surveys report that up to 60 percent of adults struggle with sleep at least a few nights per week. It should be a priority, which means making some changes and supporting the body before and during sleep.
Get the Right Nutrients Prior to Sleep
Start by supporting your body and mind from the inside. What you consume impacts all aspects of health and wellness, including sleep. Focus on eating a healthy, whole foods, and diverse diet that provides adequate nutrition. This helps your body prepare to rest and make repairs during a night of sleep.
Avoid things that will not support your sleep, such as alcohol, sugar, and heavy, fatty foods before bed. Instead, try these foods shown to have benefits for sleep:
- Sweet potatoes
- White rice
- Fatty fish, like salmon or tuna
- Cereal with low-fat milk
You can also try supportive drinks that relax the mind and soothe the body before bed. Passionflower tea has a sedative and anti-anxiety effect. Lemon balm and valerian tea can also help your body feel more relaxed and prepared for rest. Valerian has also been shown to reduce symptoms of insomnia and improve sleep quality.
Support Your Joints
Your body also needs strong support while you sleep. Choosing the right mattress makes a difference. Your joints need support to keep you comfortable and able to sleep well through the night.
Consider your preferred sleep position when mattress shopping. For instance, if you sleep on your side, you need the right level of support for your hips and shoulders as they take much of your weight in that position. Choose a medium-firm mattress that provides support for those joints without putting too much pressure on them.
Another issue that arises with bedding choices is temperature. The body naturally drops in temperature in the evening to help you sleep. If your bedroom environment is too warm, it can interfere with your rest.
If you struggle with the temperature at night, try a mattress for hot sleepers. These mattresses use specific materials to draw heat away from your body. They are breathable and have good ventilation to keep you cooler than other types of mattresses.
Use the Right Pillows
Healthy sleep involves all components of your bed and bedroom, including pillows. If you haven’t bought a new pillow in a while, consider making an upgrade. The right pillow supports your head and neck, preventing pain.
You can also use pillows to support other parts of your body. Thin support under your knees can relieve lower back pain, for instance. If you sleep on your side, a pillow between the knees supports proper spinal alignment.
Pillows impact your skin as well. If you have acne, for example, the choice of fabric can make the condition worse. One of the best materials to protect your skin is silk. A silk pillowcase reduces friction with your skin, reducing the buildup of wrinkles and minimizing skin irritation that can trigger acne.
Support Your Mind
The mind and body are inseparable, so as you support your body for good sleep, also consider your mind. Most people know the feeling of going to bed, only to find racing thoughts keeping them awake. The stress of the past day and worries about the next are major culprits in preventing sound sleep.
Do whatever you can to relax and prepare your mind before sleep to enjoy more quality hours and feel refreshed in the morning. Try meditating before bed, for instance. Mindfulness meditation can be a powerful tool for focusing the mind and on the present moment. Use it to clear out those troubling thoughts.
You may also find that an app playing soothing sounds or white noise helps you relax and unwind for sleep. Try changing out your alarm as well. Loud, jarring sounds are not very soothing for the mind and set you up for a bad start to the day.
Prioritize Sleep for Wellness
Sleep is not so simple for most people. We all struggle at times to fall asleep or stay asleep. When you prioritize rest, you enjoy better overall wellness. To do so, consider all the ways that supporting your body and mind promotes sound sleep. So many choices made throughout the day affect how you sleep, so take these into careful consideration.