How well are you sleeping these days? Are your energy levels incredibly low? Do you feel like the whole day has already gone by even though it’s only 9 am? Have you been snacking non-stop since you woke up, and you just can’t seem to concentrate on anything? Do you find yourself wide awake during the night, tossing and turning for hours to try and get back to sleep? If your answer is yes, then your sleep quality might need a serious boost.
Read on to explore what sleep quality is and how to improve it so that you can wake up refreshed and ready for the day!
What is sleep quality, and why is it important?
You probably know that, as an adult, the amount of sleep you need every night should be around seven to nine hours. This is what we refer to when we talk about “sleep quantity”, but what about sleep quality?
Generally speaking, good sleep is defined by the ability to fall asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed, sleeping through the night with no or minimal wakes, and falling asleep within 20 minutes, if you wake up in the night.
All this, in turn, ensures that you wake up refreshed and restored in the morning.
Achieving and maintaining optimal sleep quality is essential for a number of reasons. Sleep contributes to strengthening our immune system, enhancing our cognitive functions, and renewing our cell production, which contributes to faster healing processes.
Good sleep quality also helps us to stabilise our blood sugar levels, thus curbing any extreme sugary cravings that we might experience during the day.
What impacts good sleep quality?
Often, there are some specific reasons why you can’t achieve optimal sleep quality. The most common include:
- An irregular sleep schedule: consuming too much caffeine, alcohol, or fatty foods — especially in the evening — can negatively affect your sleep quality, as well as going to bed very late every night, and using electronic devices before your bedtime.
- Mental health disorders: people who suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues are at a higher risk of experiencing poor sleep quality.
- Sleep-related disorders: you might be suffering from sleep apnoea, periodic limb movement disorder, or narcolepsy. If you think this might be the case, contact a medical professional for help.
Signs your sleep quality needs to improve
There are three main areas that poor sleep quality impacts — and each one of them can create specific signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Cognitive Area: your memory and mental performance are negatively affected.
- Physical Area: you often get sick as your immune system can’t cope with the stress generated by your poor sleep quality; you may also have noticed a sudden weight gain.
- Emotional Area: you may feel stressed, irritable, and anxious. In extreme cases, you may experience depression.
Improve your sleep quality in three steps
Implement these easy tips for enjoying better, more consistent sleep quality.
1. Stay active during the day
As counterintuitive as it may seem, leading an active life is vital when it comes to enhancing your sleep. During regular exercise and movement, our body releases hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are very important to uplift our moods, stabilise our emotions, and help us feel better and happier.
2. Create a bedtime schedule
Allowing your body and mind enough time to wind down before bed is essential to good sleep quality. For example, you could have either a relaxing shower or an indulgent bath every evening, followed by some gentle yoga stretches, a meditation session, or a few minutes of reading or journaling.
Similarly, you should make it a priority to go to bed at the same time every night, as well as stop using all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
3. Manage and reduce stress and anxiety
If you suffer from stress and anxiety, or any other mental health disorder, to improve your sleep, try finding a way to reduce these stresses. You might try different approaches, such as meditation and mindfulness, yoga, journaling, or you could consider embarking on a psychotherapy journey.
The rituals you forge around caring for your body and mind have a significant influence, too. That’s why ilapothecary was created. We believe in nature’s power to heal physical and emotional issues and mitigate modern stressors. Good sleep rituals start with good self-care rituals, so invest in yourself today.
Sleep better, live better
If you want to live a better, more balanced life, getting good quality sleep is paramount.
Treat yourself to some of our favourite sleep-boosting products, and create a bedtime routine for sweet dreams — every night! And if poor sleep is affecting your mood, read our blog here and learn easy, natural ways to fight this.