Part I of The State of Sleep revealed that people are getting less and less sleep as we venture into a world full of 24/7 Internet connectivity, economic potholes, and other distractions stealing time away from sleep. The negative effects of sleep deprivation on health and safety are rather shocking, ranging from depression to cardiovascular disease to traffic accidents.
Now that we all know we need more sleep, let’s talk a little bit about how to get there and things that improve the quality of the little sleep we do get. You may have heard these before, but were you really listening? Here are some tips for better sleep, adapted from the MayoClinic.com:
- Stick to a schedule: go to bed and get up about the same time every day, even on the weekends. This reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol in the evening. Also watch fatty or spicy foods if you are prone to heartburn.
- Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, but not within 3 hours of bed time.
- Your bedroom should be comfortable. The best conditions for falling asleep are cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in quality bedding, pillows, and mattress.
- Start a relaxing bedtime routine: do the same things each night to tell you body it’s time for bed. Try taking a warm (not hot) bath, reading a book, or listening to music. Lower the lights if possible.
Eliminating distractions is also key to falling asleep on time and getting a good night’s rest. Remove electronic devices such as laptops, televisions, and mobile phones from the bedroom as much as possible. Not only do these devices cause distractions, but the blue light emitted from their screens can disrupt the sensors in your brain that recognize nighttime as time to go to sleep. Many people believe they have insomnia simply because they do not turn out the lights and go to bed.
Looking for more Sweet tips to increase the quality and quantity of your sleep? Check out these resources from WebMD’s Sleep Disorders Health Center:
More information from the MayoClinic.com:
Once more, with feeling: Please note that I am not a physician. I cannot diagnose insomnia or sleep disorders, nor can I prescribe treatment. The preceding is simply the result of my own online research and personal experiences, meant to inform and entertain. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, please consult a medical professional immediately.