Sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing yet, can easily be taken for granted – especially when you are scrambling to meet the demands of a busy schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one-third of U.S. adults do not get the recommended amount of seven or more hours of sleep per night. Insufficient sleep is linked to a host of negative health consequences including high blood pressure, obesity, and memory loss.
Getting the right amount of sleep can positively impact your mental and physical health. Sleep can reduce stress, help you lose weight, and make you look younger. Other health benefits can include:
- Stronger immune system
- Lower risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health problems
- Improved brain function
- Improved mood
- Reduced risk of accidents or safety incidents
- Get physical. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep at night.
- Stick to a routine. Set your alarm and get up at the same time every morning, including weekends.
- Use your bedroom just for sleep. Leave the day’s stresses at the door. Don’t bring your phone, computer, and bills to bed with you.
- Stay cool. Lowering the temperature of your room can help you snooze more soundly.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Practice deep breathing. Start with four breaths, breathing in through your nose for a count of four and out through your mouth for a count of eight.
- Don’t watch the clock. Cover your alarm clock, move your phone to another room, or put your smartwatch to sleep. Focus on relaxation instead of watching minutes tick by.
- Adjust your outlook. If you get anxious about sleeping, counter worrisome thoughts with positive thoughts and visions of yourself lying down and sleeping peacefully.
- Give sleep a break. If you are tossing and turning for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and go do a quiet activity, without screens, in another dimly lit room until you feel sleepy again.
- Block out background noise. Try a white noise machine or a phone app to drown out the day’s stress and mask background noise.
- Know when to call in the experts. For some people, home treatments are just not enough to get a good night’s rest. There are a number of other things can cause poor sleep quality: shift work, night-time responsibilities, arthritic problems, acid reflux, asthma, post-nasal drip, etc. If you think you have impaired sleep or a serious sleep condition, consult with your physician.