Odds are that many of you have experienced a lack of sleep. Late nights, early mornings, inconsistent schedule, tossing and turning, a disruptive partner, or poor sleep environment are just some of the many things that may have caused you to miss out on precious minutes or hours of sleep. And if you are aware of the performance benefits of sleep, then you know that sleep quality can have a dramatic effect on health and performance.

It’s usually easy to notice when you are sleep deprived. Loss of concentration, changes in mood, or decrease in mental and physical performance can all be symptoms of sleep deprivation. While sleep needs do change as you get age, the general recommendation for adults ages 18 and up is 7 hours of sleep per day.

But how to you increase the quality and quantity of your sleep? We’ve listed various strategies to help you increase the likelihood of achieving 7 hours of sleep per night.

MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A “BEDROOM”

It’s called a bedroom for a reason! It’s where your bed is, and your beds primary function is to be a comfortable place to rest. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy other activities on our bed, it just means we should limit the amount of work or media consumption performed in our bed. If your bed is associated with television or work on your computer, you might be tempted to be preoccupied with other things you could be doing in your bed besides sleeping, which can lead to more time spent awake than asleep.

SET A ROUTINE

You likely have routines for just about everything. You have a work schedule, an eating schedule, kids schedule, workout schedule, and many other routines that are scheduled throughout your day. If you don’t stick to your schedules, you could lose your job, become overly hungry, be late taking or picking up your kids from school, or not reach your fitness goals. Your sleep schedule works the same way. Studies have shown that irregular sleep patterns can alter the chemical processes in your brain that help with getting you to sleep. If you find yourself going to sleep at different hours throughout the week, setting a time for bed could improve your sleep.

INCREASE LIGHT EXPOSURE DURING THE DAY

The sun rises and the sun sets. It’s natural for us to feel tired later in the day when it gets dark, and more alert when we see the light of the morning sun rise. In fact, increasing the amount natural sunlight you receive during the day can help regulate your internal body clock so that you can improve your daytime energy while increasing your nighttime sleep quality and duration. So, if you find time to take your lunch outside or take a morning walk, you could find it easier to fall asleep.

OTHER STRATEGIES

 - Limit fluid consumption to avoid frequent urination during the night, which can affect sleep quality and quantity. Try to stop consuming beverages 2 hours prior to bedtime.
 - Use a relaxation technique like deep breathing, massage, or shower to help you sleep better.
 - Set your bedroom temperature between 65 and 72 degrees, or whatever is comfortable to you.
 - Exercise One study showed that adults who exercise nearly cut in half the time required to fall asleep and increase there average sleep time by 41 minutes per night.

 

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