Struggling to get out of bed after a poor night’s sleep is a challenge we ideally will never have to face. But many of us regularly experience nights of not enough and not-good-enough sleep. And, as it turns out, not sleeping enough or well enough can have a big impact on our heart health.
May is National Blood Pressure Education Month, and studies have shown that high blood pressure (hypertension) can be linked to poor sleep patterns. Our mattress experts have gathered up four questions to help you figure out if you’re getting enough sleep and whether the sleep you do get is of good quality.
Please note: We are not medical professionals. These questions are intended to guide you, not to take the place of consulting your doctor. Please consult your doctor before adopting any lifestyle or health changes.
Am I sleeping for at least six hours each night?
Studies have connected regular short sleep duration with hypertension and have shown a link between short sleep duration and increased risk for high blood pressure. “Short sleep duration” means fewer than six hours of sleep.
If you’re not getting at least six hours of sleep each night, you could be putting yourself at higher risk for hypertension. The CDC even recommends that adults aged 18 - 60 years get seven or more hours of sleep per night.
Planning out and actually getting at least six hours of sleep is key to your well-being. If it takes you 30 minutes to fall asleep each night, don’t count those 30 minutes in your total of time spent sleeping! If you read for 20 minutes before closing your eyes, don’t count that, either. Six hours of sleep means six hours of sleep – don’t shortchange yourself.
Tip: Whether you aim for “at least six” or “a full seven-plus” hours of sleep per night, leave wiggle room for getting ready for bed. That means, to get a full six or seven hours of sleep, start winding down and preparing to go to bed at least an hour before you’ll need to tuck yourself in. This way, even if you get distracted by that laundry basket of clean socks you meant to put away before you went to bed, you’re not cutting into the six hours between hitting the sheets and your morning alarm going off.
Am I refreshed when I wake up?
If you feel groggy when you wake up, your sleep is not restoring you. If you feel tired and as if it’s taking everything you’ve got to get yourself out of bed each morning, you’re not being rejuvenated at night while you sleep.
Sleep that doesn’t refresh your mind and body can be chalked up to a number of factors, and our three biggest culprits are:
- Not enough sleep
- Poor quality sleep
- Not enough (or poor quality) mattress support
You should not feel tired or groggy when you wake up! Every night is an opportunity for your body and brain to refresh, renew, and recharge.
Tip: Take steps to improve your sleep hygiene and establish more time for restful sleep each evening. Take notes (mental or handwritten) on what habits result in restful sleep. And if none of your efforts improve your sleep quality, it may be time to consider a new mattress that fits your body’s needs and sleep style.
Can I honestly rate my sleep hygiene as “good?”
According to the Sleep Foundation, strong sleep hygiene is when your daily routines and your bedroom (or your sleep environment) “promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep.”
Tips for improving your sleep hygiene are:
- Establish healthy routines and habits during the day.
- Do the same in the evening, so you can keep a consistent sleep schedule and stick to relaxing pre-bedtime habits.
- Bring peace to your bedroom environment via calming smells, comfy sheets, a supportive mattress, and proper pillows.
- Block out noises and sounds when it’s time to close your eyes for sleep.
Tip: “Good sleep hygiene” differs from person to person, so find your unique formula for success and stick to it. The key here is to stick to it!
Do I only use my bed for sleeping?
If you use your bed for marathon-watching your favorite TV shows, for Zoom trivia nights with friends, studying for class, or as your crafting workspace, quit it!
Consider this: How passionately do you care about your studies? How rowdy do you get during trivia night? How hyper-aware and eagle-eyed are you when you’re watching Unsolved Mysteries?
Are those feelings that you relate to unwinding or being sleepy?
Tip: Limiting your in-bed activities to those relating to sleep (or relating to the bedroom; yes, we mean that one) will help your brain link your bed with being drowsy and ready to sleep, and it will help you shut down more easily. But if you do high-energy/critical-thinking activities in bed, you’re creating mixed messages about the nature of what your body and brain should be doing and feeling in bed.
If You Answered No …
If you answered “No” to any of the above questions, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough sleep.
If you have any questions about these tips, or if you think it’s time to work a new mattress or foundation into your sleep environment, contact us today or shop our catalog of high-quality mattresses and foundations from America’s top mattress brands.
And of course — if you have questions about high blood pressure and how your sleep might be affecting your blood pressure or health, call your doctor!