Bad sleep is a deal-breaker when trying to sustain an active and healthy lifestyle. But what is bad sleep? The only way to consistently improve the quality of your bedtime routine is to understand what is considered good sleep and bad sleep.
What Is Good Sleep?
It’s about much more than just clocking 8 hours of rest each night. Yes, time is an important factor when creating good sleep habits, but there are undoubtedly other factors that come into play.
Good sleepers are generally able to do the following:
- Sleep at the same time each night
- Wake up feeling refreshed not tired
- Wake up happily without always snoozing
- Sleep undisturbed
- Fall asleep quickly with a clear mind
What Is Bad Sleep?
If you think you might have bad sleep habits, you might relate to the following list. Poor sleepers usually experience some or all of the following:
- Inability to fall asleep quickly
- Disrupted sleep
- Excess fatigue
- Irritable mood
- Lack of motivation
- Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
How To Turn Bad Sleep Around
There are many ways to improve sleep. Even if it’s been years since you have slept well, deep and rejuvenating shut-eye is within everyone’s reach. It’s best to pay attention to the reasons you’re losing sleep and make small improvements over time.
Stress, pain, and unhealthy habits are key factors that directly influence bad sleep patterns. Implementing small strategies, and tracking what is and isn’t working, can help even the worst sleeper experience the blissful glory of life-changing sleep.
Do you relate to any of these common ‘bad sleep’ symptoms? If so, there are some simple ways to get back on track.
1. Reduce sleep anxiety
Research shows, on average, healthy adults should take 10 – 20 minutes to fall asleep. However, anxious sleepers take much longer. Sleep anxiety can create a fear of sleeping. Those who are affected by sleep anxiety often lay in bed, watching the minutes and hours tick by, unable to enter the sleep cycle.
Sleep anxiety is no fun at all, but there are natural remedies that can calm the nerves and help you enjoy sleeping again.
One way to reduce sleep anxiety is to create a sense of calmness when bedtime approaches. A weighted blanket can assist with this process. The gentle weight pressure of a weighted blanket allows the body and mind to relax. These blankets are also famous for making people feel safe and secure.
If sleep anxiety is unbearable, it’s best to see a doctor who can help you identify the root cause of your restlessness.
2. Pay attention to back pain
Back pain impacts millions of people and can be a major source of sleep disruption. If you experience back pain when sleeping, especially lower back pain, you are likely experiencing lousy sleep.
While diet and exercise can help reduce back pain, where and how you are sleeping is also critical. One of the best sleeping positions for lower back pain is lying on the back with a pillow beneath the knee. Elevating the legs takes the pressure off the lower back.
In terms of where to sleep, experts recommend memory foam mattresses with a medium firmness as the best level of support to ease back pain.
3. Reduce drinking
Alcohol and consistent sleep every night just can’t coexist. While alcohol might be a quick way to fall asleep, excessive drinking can impact the quality of (rapid eye movement) REM sleep. Deep restorative sleep requires a healthy REM cycle.
Exessive drinking continually reduces sleep quality, which is why it is not recommended to those already struggling to fall asleep.
4. Focus on your mental health
A sharp focus on mental health can turn inadequate sleep into incredible sleep. A key sign of poor sleep is overthinking – a telltale sign you are feeling stressed or mentally drained.
Meditation, warm baths, and relaxing sounds for sleeping can naturally calm the mind when it needs to rest.
Fall in love with sleep again
Whether bad quality sleep is a new thing in your world, or if it is your new normal, you can always turn things around. Remind yourself of a time you experienced the best sleep of your life and know it’s more than possible to love sleeping again.