Sleep is a crucial component to total wellness that most people neglect. Here are 3 tips for better sleep that can be implemented almost immediately.
This post is sponsored by OSO mattress. I received a mattress and compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
Are you getting enough sleep?
This is a really important question I’ve started asking more of my clients. Sleep is an undervalued component of your wellness picture. It seems to me, as Americans at least, we pride ourselves on needing less and less sleep to get by. It is in fact the only way to get more waking hours in the day.
However, if your energy is crappy during the day because you either aren’t sleeping long enough, or the quality of your sleep is poor, what does it matter how many hours you’re awake? The goal, my friends, is not to have more awake hours in your day, but rather to have more exceptional energy in those waking hours.
Here’s the equation you need to consider:
Wellness = Nutrition + Exercise + Rest
Rest cannot be taken out of your health picture. It’s just too important. Not getting enough sleep does negatively impact your health. I repeat: inadequate sleep negatively impacts your health. You are not the one person immune from the effects. Whether you realize it or not (or want to admit it or not) poor sleep is slowly chipping away at your health.
Research shows lack of sleep contributes to a significant increase in risk for chronic health disease like heart diseases and heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes. It impacts your emotional health, leaving you with less emotional energy to give to those most important to you. It’s been proven that you are not as mentally acute, potentially causing more accidents and certainly not performing at high levels at work. Really, the list goes on, and on, and on about how terrible the lack of sleep is for you.
There’s a lot of reasons why you may not be sleeping enough. These reasons affect me too. I’m a working parent, which in and of itself possesses enough responsibilities to keep any adult from regularly getting a good night of sleep. But what I’m realizing as a I get older (meaning I feel the effects of sleep loss more intensely) and what the research continues to tell us all, is that sleep is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of health that we are not giving credence too.
While I am not a sleep expert, I am becoming a better-sleep warrior, poking and prodding people in this area to really make some changes. In my own life, I am very protective of my sleep as I have always needed around 8 hours to function somewhat normally (9 would be ideal). I’ve decided that there is a rarely a show or game on TV that is important enough to lose sleep over. I’m trying to turn my electronics off earlier, realizing that I am only about 25% as productive at night as I am in the morning.
More specifically, here are 3 tips for better sleep that have helped me:
NO MOBILE PHONE IN THE BEDROOM
Bringing your phone into your bedroom at night might be one of the worst decisions ever! There, I said it. Don’t throw tomatoes at me.
Digital devices already plague your mind during the whole-darn day, why do that to yourself at night too?! Do you really think it’s healthy to have your phone be the last thing you check at night and the first thing you look at in the morning? No. No it’s not. Plus, the blue light emitted from your phone actually prevents melatonin, a natural sleep-inducing hormone, from being secreted. This means your body’s natural ability to fall asleep is being hindered. NOT WORTH IT!
At night I now leave my phone in the kitchen to charge. There have been many times where I remembered something that I needed to do on my phone before bed (send an email or text for instance). Most of the time I just end up writing it down to complete in the morning, realizing it’s not that important right now. Preparing for sleep is more important.
If you use your phone as an alarm clock, it’s time to go old school and just buy a real clock. I like battery operated ones with a volume control, like this stylish wood clock, because I get up before Coach.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning off your devices 30 minutes before bed and keeping them out of the bedroom all together; but I already told you that. =)
USE A SOUND MACHINE
Hearing noises while sleeping can wake you up, sometimes so briefly that you don’t even fully realize it. Even these small interruptions in sleep can prevent you from getting the best quality. My boys have been sleeping with sound machines in their rooms since the day we brought them home from the hospital (thanks to the expert advice from Mom’s On Call). Recently I put one in my bedroom and it has made a huge difference, especially for Coach, who is a light sleeper. It helps drown out some of the random, unimportant noises we don’t need to hear, but still allows you to hear noises that you need to hear, say in an emergency.
This is my favorite sound machine because the noise is very clean sounding. Just trust me on this one. I’ve tried a few.
SLEEP ON A GOOD MATTRESS
A comfortable mattress is a crucial piece to better sleep. How many of you wake up with a sore back or neck due to your mattress? Or, do you wake up multiple times a night readjusting to get comfy? These two experiences may be a sign you need a new mattress, regardless of how old it is.
When you get me talking about mattresses, I get pretty fired up. I’ve bought a few mattresses as an adult and it just seems like this industry is out to get us all! Buying a mattress is about as fun as buying a new car. There’s so many choices, a 5 minute period of laying on it does NOT correlate to how you will sleep on it, and it always feels like you’re getting ripped off. Plus, the last mattress we bought lasted (in my opinion), only 4 years before it was no longer comfortable and I’m rather mad about it.
I refuse to believe that you have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to get a really good mattress. I don’t think it’s right to have to finance a mattress!! This means that really good sleep is only available to those who can afford a really good mattress. That just doesn’t sit well with me. There has to be a different way.
Recently, I connected with the folks at OSO mattress to in fact find a better solution for a really good mattress. OSO is an affordable, natural rubber blend (more on that in a second) mattress with both a firm and soft side that is delivered to your door in a box.
Yes, there is no store or salesman in this equation and you don’t have to choose between a firm or soft mattress. Check out my experience opening my OSO mattress with my favorite little helpers:
As I have gotten to know OSO and the company behind it, Reverie, I’ve had a lot questions. After all, I am fairly skeptical for the reasons mentioned above. Here are the important things to know about the OSO mattress:
- OSO is made of a hypoallergenic, natural rubber blend top that is very breathable. It is not memory foam. Don’t think rubber band, think supportive clouds. I describe it as the mattress rises up to meet every nook and cranny of your body. It’s such a cool feeling. I wish we had this mattress when I was pregnant because it would’ve helped so much!
- The mattress is split down the equator with the top half being soft support and the bottom half more firm support. The idea is that you rotate the mattress to sleep one side or the other based on preference or even temporary need. The soft side contains patented “DreamCell” foam springs (no metal involved) that are very durable and comfortable. The firm side contains a very high quality, long lasting foam. While you can’t see a huge difference in the firmness in my video, you can definitely tell a difference when you lay on it. Both are great but we currently prefer the soft side. The nice thing is, if we want more firmness for this reason or that, we will just rotate that sucker.
- The material of the bed, regardless of the side you sleep on, is shock absorbing. You do not feel movements of another person. This is AMAZING! On our old mattress I swear it felt like Coach would belly flop into bed every night, even though I know he didn’t. Now, I don’t even feel him gently slip into bed if I’m already asleep.
- OSO has a 10 years warranty and lifespan. It received the Intertek certification for durability and quality. (I learned a lot about the mattress industry in this review process.) This is really important to me because I want a mattress that will last!!
- OSO is affordable with all mattresses costing $1000 or less. Thank you OSO!!
Is it comfortable you ask? Oh yes indeed. Coach declared it was the best mattress ever and he has been sleeping so much better. (This is a huge blessing during football season!) I also love our OSO mattress. I have found myself dreaming nearly every night, which is a sign that I’m experiencing REM, deep sleep (something this mama desperately needs to make it through long days). That was not the case on my old mattress.
We’ve also had a lot of family fun trying out the new mattress. While jumping on the bed is not encouraged daily, it was an acceptable way to celebrate the great sleep we are having!
My hope for this post today is that you take a good, hard look at how you have been sleeping. If it’s less than great, it’s time to make some changes to improve it. It’s just too important for your health. So whether it’s a simple as a sound machine or maybe going as far as buying a new mattress, investing in your sleep is money well spent. You can’t be the best version of you without it.
For more information on sleep, check out my post: Foods to Help You Sleep.
Champion for Better Sleep for All,