(Family Features)--It's no secret that finding time for the recommended eight hours of sleep is easier said than done. More often than not, your time asleep is limited by your busy schedule. If you are lucky enough to squeeze in a full eight hours of shuteye, you are still not guaranteed to wake up feeling refreshed.
While some responsibilities are hard to shake, setting yourself up with the right routine can vastly improve your quality of sleep and combat the issues keeping you up at night:
1. Lighten up:
If it's never light in your bedroom, you may be confusing your body's circadian clock. The circadian clock regulates how alert you are due to the light and darkness in an environment. If you keep your bedroom dark during the day or use black-out curtains, this can act as a signal to your body that it should be asleep. Swap out your curtains for a lighter color or keep your shades partially open -natural sunlight in your room can help you wake up in the morning.
2. Out with the old:
Approximately half (49 percent) of Americans have had their mattress for five years or more and while people struggle with sleep for a variety of reasons, your mattress could be keeping you from getting a good night's sleep. A quality mattress can give you the support you need to wake up feeling refreshed.
3. Tune out:
Everyone's guilty of binge-watching their favorite TV shows from time to time. While you may satisfy your curiosity by catching the ending of your favorite series, you may not be so happy when you wake up groggy after staying up too late. Set an alarm for 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep and when the alarm goes off turn off your TV and get ready for bed. Limiting screen time before you fall asleep can also avoid disrupting your body's level of melatonin, which controls sleep cycles.
4. If you snooze, you lose:
Hitting the snooze button even once in the morning can make you feel groggy throughout the day. By hitting snooze, you are prompting your body to start another stage in your sleep cycle without giving it enough time to fully recover. Try downloading an app with a smart alarm to make sure that you are waking up during a lighter stage of your sleep cycle.
5. Cut the caffeine:
While there is nothing quite like coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up, having caffeine after 2 p.m. can impact both your sleep quality and quantity. Instead of having a cup after lunch, take your coffee break earlier in the day or consider switching to decaf.
Source: Simmons Beautyrest
Published with permission from RISMedia.