Today’s tablets, smartphones and televisions are developed to mimic daylight. Introducing that type of lighting, during a times where our bodies are expecting darkness, can be disruptive to our circadian rhythm, making it difficult to sleep. When you’re experiencing a restless night, which we all do from time to time, resist the urge to reach for your phone or another electronic device. Instead, try some light reading in a dim room. Reading will occupy your awake time, as well as distract you from the thoughts that may be keeping you up.
Physical Activity Outdoors
Exercising in the morning or afternoon helps to reset the sleep-wake cycle by increasing your body temperature, then reducing it to stimulate sleep hours later. Engaging in a physical activity outside, allows your body to absorb natural sunlight that not only helps to regulate circadian rhythm, but gets you your daily dose of vitamin D, known for its benefit to overall health and wellness.
An environment that is too hot or cold can seriously impact sleep quality. Body temperature spikes in the evening and then drops to its daily low during sleep. The ideal room temperature is between 60-72 degrees Fahrenheit or 15-22 degrees Celsius depending on personal preference. A cooler space with sufficient airflow is generally more comfortable, while increased temperature can cause restlessness. Investing in a room thermometer can provide useful for small children and the elderly, who are the most likely to be impacted by extreme temperatures. And always be mindful of bedding and dress, making sure it is appropriate for the season.
Sleep at a Reasonable Hour
Both children and adults can get overtired, making the hour in which you go to bed rather important. On average, depending on the age of the child, sleep requirements can vary between 8 to 12 hours per night (not including day time sleep), with adults ranging from 6 to 8 hours. Your ideal sleep window sets the quality of sleep for the remainder of the night and missing this time can lead to poor sleep, with multiple wake ups resulting in a very tiring next day. While adults can soldier through with caffeine aides, productivity and efficiency are shown to be directly impacted. Young children require sufficient sleep for brain development and growth with sleep deprivation potentially having a significant impact on developing minds and bodies.
Routines – Not Just for Babies
Having a consistent bedtime routine can be beneficial to a good night’s rest. Consistent practices are your body’s cues to signal sleep. For children, having a series of familiar events leading up to sleep, both signals their brains for upcoming slumber and helps them to manage their expectations, making the bedtime battle that much easier. Adults are not much different. Although schedules and commitments can vary, having some consistency allows you to settle without a fight. Reading for 15 minutes or taking a warm before bed, can calm the mind and body, getting to sleep with comfort and ease.