While the average adult needs between seven to eight hours of sleep each night to stay healthy, experts estimate that only around two-thirds of Americans are hitting this mark. This means that one-third of the country is not getting enough time snoozing, increasing their risk for mental distress, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and high blood pressure. If you’re in this boat, not all hope is lost. Use these tips to improve your sleep quality so you can feel better in the long term.
Reduce Allergens in the Home
Allergies don’t take a break when you’re sleeping. Whether you’re allergic to dust mites or dogs, these irritants can get into your body while you’re sleeping, causing a stuffy nose, breathing problems, and other symptoms that make it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep the allergens at bay. Start by allergy-proofing your bed. Sadly, this might mean kicking kitty to the floor and slipping allergen-proof covers over your mattress and pillows to prevent dust mites from burrowing in and making themselves comfy.
It’s also essential to regularly maintain your HVAC system. Call in a professional at least once a year to check for problems and clean out your ducts so the air in your home is free of sneeze-inducing contaminants.
Ease Into Sleep
If you’re like many, it can be hard to finally simmer down after a long and stressful day. Your mind might be running a million miles a minute, preventing you from slipping into the world of dreams. That’s why renowned sleep doctor Michael Breus recommends establishing an hour-long wind-down routine before you go to bed.
You’ll separate the routine into 20-minute segments to ease into relaxation. During the first segment, you’ll finish up all your tasks for the night. In the middle segment, you’ll get ready for bed by brushing your teeth, washing your face, and performing any other personal hygiene rituals. Finally, the last 20 minutes can be used to stretch, meditate, or pray. To keep yourself on schedule, use a stopwatch to make sure you stick to the timeframe.
Get Intimate With Your Partner
While having sex can make you a bit sweaty and overheated, it’s actually a great way to get a solid night of sleep. Research shows that when you have sex, your body releases specific hormones that promote sleep. For example, oxytocin helps you feel closer to your partner, while cortisol reduces stress. And if you’re lucky enough to orgasm, your body will be flooded with prolactin, a hormone that increases relaxation and sleepiness.
Women have an extra reason to have sex, as getting busy increases estrogen levels, which improves REM sleep. Put all this together, and sex is the perfect way to make your sleep longer and deeper than before.
Even if you get enough sleep, if it’s not quality sleep, you’ll still feel tired and groggy come morning. Use these tips to improve how well you’re sleeping so you’re ready to tackle the day ahead of you.