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The Night Time Routine for the Best Sleep

Have you ever woken up right before your alarm was supposed to go off?

You can thank your circadian rhythm, or your internal clock. It’s your brain’s way of letting your body know when to go to bed, when to wake up, and when to eat. If this natural pattern gets thrown off course then it can lead to surprisingly severe consequences  – an increased risk of cardiovascular troubles and obesity as well as mental issues such as depression and bipolar disorder. It can also lead you to being off your game in your daily life; sleepiness clouds judgement and slows work, making you less productive overall.

There are two key factors that play into a good night’s rest: the environment you go to sleep in and your routine leading up to bed.

Create the Right Environment

The environment you go to bed in can leave you tossing and turning, which is detrimental to your well-being. Waking up throughout the night has worse impacts on your physical and mental health than simply getting less sleep.

One study found that people who had to wake up four times in eight hours experienced the same negative after effects as people who only slept for a total of only four hours. By the end of the experiment, they had experienced lower energy, sympathy, and friendliness. One reason for this, the study suggests, is that people whose sleep got interrupted never got the chance to transition from one step of the sleep cycle to the next. Ensure that you are allowing your body the full potential to restore by preparing the environment you’ll be sleeping in.

Keep Cool

The first thing you’ll want to look at is temperature. The ideal temperature for your room is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, anything below or above this can interfere with sleep. This can be tied back to your circadian rhythm; your body’s temperature fluctuates over a 24 hour period. As you fall asleep, your body’s temperature begins to cool off. Therefore, starting in a cool environment will lead to you falling asleep faster because it saves your body from having to regulate its temperature. Additionally, studies have found that your brain releases more melatonin when you sleep between these temperatures.

Not only will keeping cool help you get to sleep faster, it will help your mattress. The moisture that comes from the 26 gallons of sweat people produce each year in bed and the heat emitted while sleeping culminates to create an ideal environment for fungi culture. Sleeping in a cool environment could lessen the amount you sweat and the amount of heat emitted.

How to Do It

  • A Hot Bath - Believe it or not, taking a hot bath can actually help your body cool down. There is an initial spike in temperature, but then there is a quick drop in temperature that happens afterwards.   
  • Freeze It - Put your top sheet or stuffed animal in your freezer a while before sleeping and place it on your bed right before going to bed. Or, you can get a cooling mattress pad to ensure that your mattress stays cool each night.
  • Circulation - Turn your fan on before bed to keep the air flowing and possibly crack open a window.
  • Sleep Light - Wear pajamas made from a breathable material so that your body heat isn’t as insulated.

Not Too Cool

If you make the temperature of your room too cold then you can actually have the opposite effect of what you are going for. When your room is too cold it can cause your blood vessels to narrow, which in turn traps your body heat and your core temperature actually begins to rise.

Hygienic Environment

It’s hard to imagine going to bed comfortably next to fungi, allergens, and bacteria. Things like dust mites, dander, fungal spores, Streptococcus, and more can all find their way into your mattress and pillows. Ever roll over when sleeping? This causes particles from your mattress to go back into the air just from the transition. You then breath these in as you sleep which can lead to allergies and disrupted sleep; this is why it’s important to go to create a hygienic environment.

How to Do It

  • Clean - Regularly cleaning your mattress can highly reduce the number of allergens and germs. For a routine clean: vacuum your mattress (especially by the seams), spot clean any stains with a 50-50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, then deodorize the mattress by lightly spreading on baking soda and lastly vacuuming it up after an hour.
  • Protect - To avoid the aforementioned cleaning process, place mattress and pillow protectors on your bed; this keeps allergens and germs out of your mattress. Additionally, when it comes time to cleaning, all you have to do is remove the covers and run them through the washer and dryer.  

The Difference a Good Pillow Makes

Another thing that could constantly cause you to wake up throughout the night is a terrible pillow. Whether it simply be from a bad purchase, or the buildup of oils and allergens leading to the inside filling breaking down, having the wrong pillow makes a big impact. Having a pillow protector can prevent the latter from happening and lengthen the life of your pillow.  

When buying a pillow, the first thing to look for is proper neck support. This can mean less head and neck pain, less snoring, as well as aiding in falling and remaining asleep. Similarly, your pillow affects your spinal alignment, and having the right support can lessen back pain.

Your pillow can also be part of the process in cooling down your sleeping environment. Having a cooling pillow reduces your overall sleeping temperature because it draws heat away from the body, while remaining cool throughout the night.

When to Get a New Pillow:

  • If you feel like you aren’t getting the support that you need from your pillow.
  • There are yellow stains of aging.
  • In regard to non-foam pillows, if you fold it in half and it doesn’t immediately jump back into the flat position.

Your Daily Routine

It's not enough that you only set your room up for the perfect night of sleep, you have to set yourself up for success. The things you do throughout the day and the moments leading up to bed highly impact the amount and quality of sleep that you are going to get.

Rise and Shine

Going back to your circadian rhythm, you need to figure out exactly how much sleep your body needs to feel 100%. Not getting enough, or even too much, sleep can leave you feeling groggy. The best time to wake up is typically between 6:30AM and 9:30AM, so figure out how many hours you need and make sure you’re ready for bed on time. Then, when you’ve figured out the number of hours, stick to it. Once you have your routine set, you may find yourself waking up before your alarm, feeling refreshed.

Start your day off right! Going outside within two hours of being awake makes you feel more alert and energized - ready to take on the day. The morning is a great time for exercise. Not only will the increased endorphins and serotonin leave you feeling happy and content, exercising in the morning also decreases the desire to eat during the day.

Watch What and When you Eat or Drink

Contrary to the way most people do things, it’s better for you to eat more earlier in the day. When you have a big dinner, your body needs to process all of these nutrients and thinks that it’s going to be awake for a long time. Additionally, you need more energy during the day so it makes sense to eat a bigger breakfast and lunch rather than dinner.

When you do eat in the evening, there are certain foods you can reach for that will make you feel more tired or relaxed:

  • Almonds - The melatonin and magnesium helps you fall and stay asleep. They lessen the levels of cortisol which results from stress and impacts sleep.
  • Turkey - Promotes melatonin through tryptophan, an amino acid. Another element that aids in falling and staying asleep is the protein.
  • Chamomile Tea - The apigenin within the tea is an antioxidant that increases the feeling of sleepiness. A study found that two weeks of drinking the tea lead to overall better sleep quality and lessen depression symptoms that impact sleep.

There is a time to stop drinking caffeine. Stop drinking anything with caffeine in it about three to seven hours before you intend to go to sleep because that’s how long it takes for at least half the amount of caffeine to leave your body.

Log Off

A poll conducted by Sleep in America found that the majority of people are still watching TV or on another device within an hour leading up to going to sleep. As minor as a scroll down your Facebook timeline might seem, it could be impacting your sleep in a major way. Electronic screens emit blue light which suppresses your brain's production of melatonin, disrupting your circadian rhythm. For optimal rest and recovery, put away your electronics two to three hours before you plan on going to sleep.

Relaxation Techniques

Still can’t snooze even after following the perfect routine? There are a few relaxation techniques you can employ to get you in the right mindset to fall asleep:

  • Autogenic Training (AT) - If you’re still wound up from a stressful day, this exercise helps pinpoint the ways your stress is impacting your body (such as an increased heart rate or stiff neck) and gives you an opportunity to reverse these effects. There are a series of exercises you complete that focuses on creating a warm and heavy feeling in different areas of your body at a time. You move through each section of your body, tensing and relaxing the muscles. This relaxes you both mentally and physically.   
  • Breathing Exercises - Deep breaths are one of the quintessential ways to reduce anxiety and feel calm. Being mindful of the slow, full, breaths you are taking leads to various different physiological changes such as reduced muscle tension, slower heart rate, and lower blood pressure.  
  • Guided Imagery - This technique makes you focus all of your senses into relaxation. You imagine yourself in a positive scenario and think about how this place would affect each of your senses. This exercise physically and mentally relaxes your body.

Your circadian rhythm plays a major role in how ready you are for your day. Setting yourself up for success by playing into the natural elements of your body clock will lead to the best sleep quality possible. Aside from your routine, your environment can also impact the quality of sleep you are getting. By establishing the perfect temperature, keeping your bed clean, and having the proper neck and back support you are further guaranteeing the perfect slumber.   

We hope these tips are able to help you get the sleep of your dreams.

The Ultimate Mattress Protection for a Hygienic Environment: Get all of the sleep you need in the perfect environment with the following Protect-A-Bed products that keep your bedding hygienic:

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