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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

How to Get the Best Rest

Oct 29, 2018 01:18AM ● By Brielle Bleeker

A good night’s sleep is crucial to health and well-being. Along with diet and exercise, getting enough sleep is an important factor in maintaining our healthiest life. Unfortunately, people are getting less and less sleep nowadays, and their quality of sleep has been affected as well. Poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of obesity and depression, a weakened immune system, increased inflammation, lack of concentration and a reduction in the ability to be productive in daily activities. But with all those alarming facts also comes hope. There are many ways to enhance our sleep environment to ensure a quality rest.

Having a bedtime routine and a regular nighttime schedule will help optimize quality of sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time will make us feel more energized and ready to have a productive day. If we’re getting enough sleep, we should be able to wake up at the same time every day without the use of an alarm clock.

It may be tempting to sleep in on the weekends after a long week, but doing so can disrupt the body’s internal clock, causing natural sleep patterns to be thrown off. Napping can be a great way to catch up on lost sleep when done correctly. Naps should last no more than 20 minutes and always be in the afternoon.

Keeping anything with a bright screen out of the bedroom is imperative to restful sleep. Avoiding phones, tablets, television and computers at least one hour before bedtime can help keep sleep disruptions at bay. Make sure the bedroom is completely dark to keep melatonin levels regulated. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by exposure to light. In a dark environment, the brain secretes more melatonin, helping induce sleep. When it’s light, the brain secretes less, ensuring the body will be more alert. This explains why exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning is the best way to start the day on the right track.

Diet and exercise also play a large role in getting better sleep. Studies show that regular daily activity, even moderate exercise like walking, can improve sleep habits. It is well known that diet plays a huge role in health, but just as important as what we eat, when we eat can also have an impact on sleep. Avoiding sugary and carb-heavy foods, as well as cutting back on liquids in the evening, can play a role in whether or not quality sleep is achieved.

Creating a positive sleep environment, both mentally and physically, can help alleviate the stress and worry that often plague people at bedtime. Having a relaxed routine such as reading a book, doing some yoga poses or listening to peaceful music can be a great way to unwind and ready the body and mind for sleep. An essential part of getting great rest is making sure bedroom furniture, particularly the bed, is comfortable and safe. Indoor pollution from dust and chemicals found in and on furniture can wreak havoc on sleep by causing breathing difficulties and many other issues, like thyroid disorder from the off-gassing of polyurethane foam and chemical flame retardants contained in bedding.

An organic mattress is made without dangerous flame retardants and doesn’t emit toxic gases that can disrupt sleep and cause a number of detrimental health issues. Purchasing an organic mattress is an excellent choice for people striving to be healthy and well-rested. Planning for a good night’s sleep is an effective way to promote optimal health.

Healthy Choice Organic Mattress is located at 544 Main St., in Beacon, and 681 E. Main St. in Mt. Kisco. For more information, call 914.241.2467 or visit

Brielle Bleeker is a writer for Natural Awakenings magazine.

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