The quantity and quality of your sleep has a profound effect on your life – whether you want to admit it or not.
Once you’ve figured out the basics, like choosing the right pillow and mattress, it’s time to work on some of the less obvious things that impact your sleep quality.
Today, we’re going to share 6 simple tips from Dr. Oz on how you can sleep and wake up refreshed (naturally).
Why Sleep Matters
As we mentioned, sleep has so much to do with how you feel and how you are able to perform physically – whether you are an athlete or not.
One of the reasons is because of the connection to human growth hormones and sleep. In short, human growth hormone is released by the brain into your bloodstream while you sleep. This hormone is responsible for repairs and restoration of your body – meaning it’s critical for your physical well-being.
So when you’re deprived of sleep, it’s your body that pays the price.
This is true at any age. Just because you’re an adult now doesn’t mean that your body is designed to be sleep deprived. Below is a look at the ideal amount of sleep you should get based on your age from livescience.com
So how can you sleep better and actually feel refreshed? Try these tips:
1. Dim The Lights BEFORE Bedtime
Most people sleep in the dark, but did you know that dimming the lights about 30 minutes before you go to bed will help you fall to sleep faster?
As Dr. Oz points out, we don’t really “fall” to sleep as the cliche goes, but rather we tend to glide into sleep, meaning it is a gradual process.
The problem is, most common lights emit a blue light that has a terrible effect on our ability to go to sleep. According to the Harvard Health Letter, these blue lights do a number of things to our body, and none of them are good.
So the most practical solution may be to sit in some dim lighting and read a book, or do something else that tends to calm you down (as long as it doesn’t involve staring at a screen).
2. Drink Tart Cherry Juice
Research done by Louisiana State University found that drinking tart cherry juice helps you to sleep longer.
How much longer?
When compared to their non-juice drinking counterparts, the cherry juice drinkers slept almost 90 minutes longer at night.
The key is the melatonin in the juice that helps relax your body naturally.
If you want to try this out, Dr. Oz suggests you drink your cherry juice instead of eating dessert after dinner – since it takes a couple of hours to kick in.
3. Wear The Right Pajamas
Dr. Oz suggests wearing loose pajamas, but I think the bigger lesson is to wear something that you find comfortable and that fits how you sleep.
Sleep.org lists out different pajama fabrics and how they affect you. For instance, they say cotton is “lightweight and soft to the touch; it’s also breathable, allowing for air circulation, and doesn’t tend to irritate the skin. However, cotton does a poor job of insulating and may make you cold if worn in a cooler climate without adequate blankets.”
If you often wake up cold, try some flannel pajamas.
If you tend to wake up sweating, may want to stick to cotton or even sleeping in the nude.
Either way, don’t overlook the importance of your bedtime attire.
4. Reduce Ambient Noise
You might not think that a little noise makes a big difference in how well you sleep, but it does.
Hearing a siren going down the road might not wake you up, but could be enough to rustle you out of that deep REM sleep and into a light sleep. Or if you are sleeping lightly, it may well wake you up momentarily.
The result is that your disrupted sleep doesn’t allow you to rest like you should, meaning you wake up and still feel groggy.
If you have poor insulation or have no choice but to sleep in a louder environment, look into getting an ambient noise machine that can help drown out some of those distractions.
Here is an example of one that can play natural sounds, or just put out white noise if you prefer.
5. Move Your Cell Phone
We get that you feel like you always need to be connected – but it’s a bad idea if you plan on getting restful sleep.
The Huffington Post conducted a survey that found over 60% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 sleep with their phone or tablet in the bed.
That’s a horrible idea.
Noises from your phone or even vibrations are enough to disrupt your sleep. Even if the phone is totally silent, having your phone nearby can cause a sense of hypervigilance , meaning that you experience some tension from just knowing that your phone is nearby and might disrupt you.
If you need your phone in your room, try to make sure it is at least 5 feet away and completely silenced.
6. Keep Your Room Cold
Keeping the temperature at 68 degrees or below is usually a good idea.
Studies show that most people sleep best when the temperature is between 60 – 68, because you tend to stay comfortable and the colder temperature makes people feel sleepy (as opposed to being overheated).
If you get cold while sleeping, try wearing socks in bed which will allow you to more comfortably tolerate the lower temperatures.
For further explanation on how you can sleep better and wake up refreshed, check out Dr. Oz’ comments below: