Nearly one-third of American adults sleep for less than six hours each night, despite the recommended length of at least eight hours. Indeed, a lack of sleep seems to be a common complaint from almost everyone today. Unfortunately, it’s so common that it’s often treated as normal, even to the point where people don’t consider the repercussions. CEO of Supero Healthcare Solutions says around five percent of drivers report nodding off at the wheel once in the last month. Another 38 percent said that at least once in the same time period, they unintentionally dozed off at work or school. Current figures blame this phenomenon for 1,550 traffic fatalities and $18 billion in lost productivity annually.
Many possible reasons have been cited for what keeps people up at night or disrupts their sleep quality. Things like work and family-related stress, worry over health problems or a full schedule are often indicated. Regardless of the cause, however, it’s important to take control of your bedtime by doing whatever you can to improve it. Here are four tips that can help you get a better night’s sleep.
Hot Aromatherapy Bath
A nice, warm bath has always been associated with a more restful night’s sleep. The heat of the water causes tense muscles to relax and helps soothe stress. It also shifts the brain into a more sleep-receptive mode, so it’s a great thing to do right before bed. For additional benefit, consider using aromatherapy during your baths. It’s been understood for a long time that certain smells can promote different moods and feelings, and that you can use this to your benefit.
Fragrances like jasmine, rosemary, chamomile, patchouli and other warm, heady aromas are some of the most helpful for promoting good sleep. Lavender, however, has a particularly strong effect. Besides having a plerasing scent, studies have found that the smell of lavender causes a release of serotonin in the brain. This neurotransmitter makes you more relaxed and is essential for good sleep.
Watch Something Soothing
Your mind is heavily influenced by the things you watch on TV. Sitting through an action show has very real physical effects that include a surge in adrenaline, increased heart and respiration rates and an ability to ignore more pressing needs. All of this excitement and suspense will keep you feeling wide awake for some time, and can result in more fitful sleep.
Rather than subjecting yourself to this, consider watching something soothing before bed. It doesn’t even have to be interesting; in fact, the less interesting it is, the better. Online video outlets are also a great source of relaxing material. There are entire channels on these sites dedicated to videos that help people sleep.
Read a Book
Oddly enough, unlike TV, even the most thrilling book can’t fail to make you fall asleep. Reading is an excellent thing to do before bed, simply because it lacks the heavy sensory stimulation of television. This gives your mind ample time to relax into sleep. Reading also has a fun little side effect. Because it engages your imagination directly, you’ll often have more vivid and interesting dreams.
Go to Bed Earlier
For many people, the issue with their is that they’re simply going to bed too late. Sleep occurs in stages, and if these stages are disrupted, the more restorative levels of sleep never occur. The same is true with going to sleep too late. Research has shown that a critical stage of sleep occurs between the hours of 11pm and 1am. If you’re not asleep by then, you miss out on the benefits, and other stages of your sleep also suffer.