Getting a good night’s rest is critical to your health and wellness. If you’re tired all or most of the time, you may think it’s because you’re not logging enough hours in bed.

Most of us are under the misconception that the longer we are in a deep sleep, the more rested we will be when we wake up. However, we experience several sleep cycles during the course of a night. Within each sleep cycle, you move through different stages of sleep — from light sleep to deep sleep and back.

As it turns out, how much time you spend in a state of deep sleep is less important than how many sleep cycles you complete without interruption. There are a number of obstacles that may impact your ability to easily fall asleep, stay asleep or quickly fall back asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.

Here are five seemingly obvious but often overlooked factors that can disrupt your sleep cycles and affect the overall quality of your sleep:

Sleep Environment

This is related to things like room temperature optimization to help you fall asleep, how much light or noise is present, whether you have electronic devices in your bedroom or other disruptions like pets wandering in and out during the course of the night.

Sleep Posture and Structural Support

This is related to how well your head, neck and body are supported by your mattress and pillows, based on your typical or preferred sleep position.

A Pre-Sleep Wind Down Routine

This speaks to allowing time for your mind to wind down before bed so you can easily check any stress-related or emotional baggage at the bedroom door. Let your mind relax for a while so you can too.

A Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

This speaks to some simple things you can do just before getting into bed to ease your mind and relax your body to help you drift off to sleep. Whether it’s taking a hot bath with some lavender bath salts, diffusing a relaxing essential oil blend in your bedroom, drinking a small cup of chamomile tea, or my favorite – doing a brain bliss activation.

Timing and Consumption of Certain Foods and Beverages

Last, but certainly not least, this speaks to what you eat and drink and when. Eating too many simple carbohydrates early in the day sets you up for an afternoon slump that often drives caffeine consumption later in the day. Since caffeine stays in your system for up to seven hours, this impacts your sleep quality.

For more tips on how to enjoy better sleep, grab a free copy of my Better Sleep Quick Start Guide & Checklist here:

By Donya Fahmy

You can read this article in our Fall 2020 issue