Eating right and exercising daily are two cornerstones of living a healthy life, but there is a third piece of the puzzle that many people neglect either because they are unaware of its benefits or deem it not as important as the other two: quality and sufficient sleep. With so many of us leading active and demanding lives, we often find ourselves sacrificing sleep, even though it has been proven to affect both mental and physical health.
While you sleep, your brain and body are hard at work going through processes to help you recover after a long day. Sufficient and quality sleep aids us in thinking clearly, having quicker reflexes and focusing better. A lack of sleep can impair reasoning skills (one study found that driving on too little sleep was just as bad as drunk driving), problem-solving, and attention to detail. People who are tired also tend to be less productive at work and have a greater risk for developing depression.
In addition to all of these ways that sleep or lack of can affect the brain, quality sleep is also essential to a healthy body. Studies have shown that a deficit in sleep increases the risk for obesity, heart disease and infections. Your body needs sleep to regulate heart rate and breathing rate, both of which can be linked to cardiovascular health. Also during the night, your body releases hormones integral to repairing cells and controlling your body’s energy. This can affect your body weight, meaning an appropriate amount can help you lose weight.
If good sleep has so many benefits, why are so many people lacking it? We’ve found the most common reasons of sleep deficiencies and how to combat them.
Stress keeps you from calming down and interferes with your natural biological processes that help the body know that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep at the end of the day. In addition, it causes the sleeper to toss and turn throughout the night, reducing the quality of sleep once you drift off.
What to do about it? Activities like yoga, tai chi, or other forms of meditation can help clear your mind, so you can slip off into dreamland. If you don’t know how to practice these, gentle and steady breathing or progressive muscle relaxation work wonders as well and can be done while you lay in bed.
Erratic Sleep Schedules
Busy days often result in irregular schedules. Maybe you worked later one day than you intended, which pushed back your workout and your dinner plans. When you finally get home, it’s nearly 11 p.m., and you still have some housework to finish. By the time you’re crawling into bed, it’s well past midnight. However, Tuesday ends up being a quiet day, and you’re winding down around 10pm and slipping into a peaceful slumber at 10:30 p.m. It may not seem like much, but when you consistently go to sleep and wake up at different times each day your internal body clock gets out of whack. As cyclical beings, a routine is necessary to increase the quality of sleep.
What to do about it? Stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup time. If you know you usually underestimate how busy you’ll be throughout the day, try and start your days earlier so that you get more accomplished before you run out of daylight. Some people even set an alarm that goes off an hour or so before their bedtime to remind them it’s time to start getting ready for bed.
Stress and erratic sleep schedules minimize the quantity of sleep, but even if you’re getting enough sleep, if your sleep quality is low, then it’s just as bad as not logging enough sleep hours. One culprit of low quality sleep is hot temperatures. The ideal temperature to sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. To signify that it is time to sleep, your body decreases its temperature, so when it’s too warm, the body doesn’t realize that it is time to snooze.
What to do about it? An obvious fix is to set your thermostat lower during nighttime, but sometimes the bed you’re sleeping in can cause you to be too hot. Many mattresses don’t allow for airflow, causing your body to retain a lot of heat. The Zonkd mattress was designed with this knowledge in mind and utilizes a dual-layer cooling system. The top layer is a copper gel memory foam that has conductive properties to draw heat away from the body. The second layer is an aerated Talalay latex foam that allows for better airflow, creating a much cooler sleeping experience.
Lack of Support
Great sleep relies on a mattress with great support. If your spine is unaligned, this causes discomfort and restless sleep. The hip and the shoulders are the heaviest parts of the body, and if you’re sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t support them evenly, your quality of sleep is going to suffer. Many bed-in-a-box companies subscribe to the one-size-fits-all model of a mattress, but, depending on your body type and weight distribution, that is not always the case.
What to do about it? Find a mattress that distributes your weight evenly so that your spine can align. Many mattresses don’t offer the right amount of support in the right places, causing pressure points where your hips and shoulders sink further down into the mattress. With its Talalay Latex Foam layer, the Zonkd mattress evenly disperses weight, so no matter what kind of position you sleep in, it gives you optimal pressure relief.
Many people do not realize that the quality of their mattress is directly affecting the quality of their sleep. Zonkd is on a mission to raise awareness and bring people the sleep they’ve been dreaming about. Right now, we want to offer you $225 off your purchase when you buy a mattress and a pillow! Use code BACK2SCHOOL at checkout. If you’re not ready to make a purchase quite yet, but want to learn more about how quality sleep improves your quality of life, enter your email below to join our newsletter. In addition to sleep tips and news, we’ll keep you updated on any and all future promotions!