When it comes to achieving happiness, a lot of people tie themselves to earning more money. For sure, cash in the bank can help us lead a more comfortable lifestyle. And if your boss offered you a 40% pay rise tomorrow, you would probably feel on top of the world.
But what if I told you that getting a proper night’s sleep on a regular basis would make you feel even better? Considerably so, in fact. Research suggests that a good night’s sleep has a more significant impact on well-being than a 50% pay rise – let alone 40%.
Here are a few ways you can make some significant changes to your life, and start feeling a lot better in terms of wellness and overall happiness.
What good sleep gives
OK, so first of all, what can you expect from better sleeping habits, and how does it give your sense of wellbeing such a boost? First of all, there are plenty of health benefits. A regular sleeping pattern gives your body the time it needs to repair and regenerate itself from all the damage caused by wakefulness. Your immune system receives a boost, too, and you can expect to suffer from far fewer coughs, colds, and flu symptoms.
Sleeping also allows your body to repair some of the damage caused by UV rays – not to mention the fact that people with good sleeping habits tend to have fewer wrinkles and better skin than those who do not. And believe it or not, sleeping can also decrease your appetite, which prevents the kind of overeating that often leads to conditions like obesity.
Getting into the habit
Everyone has a different sleep pattern and requires a different length of shut-eye. But here are some averages that are worth considering. According to research, most healthy adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, so if you are burning the candle at both ends and only existing on four or five hours, it’s probably best to make some changes.
But actually, the best thing you can do is to establish a proper sleep pattern. Doing this involves going to bed at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning. And don’t think you can give yourself a break from your new regime at the weekend, either. Research suggests that pulling an allnighter on a Friday or Saturday night will set you back and undo all your hard work – as well as breaking you out of your regular sleep pattern.
Your mattress is vital
Given we spend a third of our lives in bed, it makes sense to make sure we are comfortable in it, right? So, whether you go for the best mattress found here or choose one from your local bed store, there are a few things to look out for. The first thing to consider is support, and this means looking at the core of a mattress. Bouncy, springy mattresses might feel fantastic and tend to be made of coils and inner springs. But they are also quick to wear down, mainly when they are covered in a thick-looking pillowtop which will eventually compress.
Most people will be better off with a firmer base – something like memory foam is a good option, and there is a broad range of depths to consider, from 2 to 6 inches. Latex mattresses give you a little buoyancy and give you a bit more spring-back than memory foam. You can also get natural latex, which is a great mattress for keeping dust mites and mold away.
Preparing for bed
If you struggle to get to sleep on a regular basis, there are probably a few things you are doing wrong. Coffee – and any other type of caffeine-based drink – should be avoided from the mid-afternoon period onwards. Drinking alcohol is a no-no, too, as although you might get to sleep quickly, alcohol ends up disturbing your sleep pattern.
TV, smartphones, and computer screens should also be avoided. The glare from those type of displays increases activity in the brain, meaning you will find it hard to get to sleep – possibly for some time after you go to bed. A better habit to try is switching off the TV an hour before bed, and settling down to read a book or listen to some soothing music. It won’t be long before you start yawning, and will settle quickly.
If you try all these things and still can’t sleep, it might be worth seeing your doctor. There might be something playing on your mind, and your physician may point you in the direction of someone who you can talk to. People with high-stress levels and anxiety often can’t sleep properly – and may not even realize they have those particular conditions.
Sleeping tablets are never really a good idea unless you are facing extreme circumstances. You’ll need to watch out for dependency, too, so why not try some natural alternatives instead? There are sleep aids with L-tryptophan and other natural ingredients like chamomile, melatonin, and valerian, which don’t have the nasty side effects that many sleep medications do.
Make a plan
OK, so do you want to wake up tomorrow and feel better than you would if you had a 50% pay rise? Well, it’s all down to you. Set your alarm for the morning, and make sure you get up when it buzzes, whether you are tired or not. By the time tomorrow evening comes around, you might be ready to go to bed at the proper time.
It doesn’t take long to establish a regular sleeping pattern once you get started – and you need to maintain it, too, whether it’s weeknight or weekend. But, if you want to lead a long and healthy life – and be in better health in the short-term – getting the right amount of sleep on a regular basis is just about the best thing you can do.
Please share any more tips for the comments – sweet dreams!