The National Sleep Foundation says adults should get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. But sadly, Americans aren’t getting nearly enough.
Average sleep times are closer to five or six hours, meaning most of us are walking around in a dazed and confused, zombie-like state. A lack of sleep can have a definite impact on your health and vitality. Studies show that a continual lack of sleep can increase your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and depression, not to mention your ability to function properly throughout the work day. So how can you get the Zs you need and still make those work deadlines? Here are some tips for forming a better relationship with your bedtime.
Get on schedule.
Inside of you, there is a biological clock that controls your bodily processes over the course of a 24-hour period of time. These circadian rhythms help your body know when to fall asleep and when to wake up. For years, we’ve been fooling our natural rhythm with artificial light. To reset your clock, you’ll want to go to bed at the same time every night and wake-up at the same every morning.
Change your habits.
To make a real difference in your sleep life, you’ll want to change bad habits. Avoid caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bed and try not to have a heavy meal right before you lay down. All of those habits can cause disruption to your sleep cycle and actually cause you not to fall into a deep sleep which your body desperately needs to feel rested. If you’re used to taking a daily nap, but then find yourself waking at night, you’ll want to cut out your nap time and just get your daily Zs during your nightly sleep time.
Set the mood.
Your bedroom should be an oasis for rest. Make sure to keep your room cool, between 68 and 72 degrees. Remove all distractions, like electronic devices or items that cause you to want to stay awake. Turn off all lights before you crawl into bed. Your bedroom should be like a nice, dark cave to promote a good night’s rest. If your partner is keeping you awake, invest in a good sleep mask and ear plugs.
If you’ve tried all of the above techniques and are still having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or if you find yourself nodding off during the day, you’ll want to let your healthcare provider know. You may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Getting it checked out will be the first step on your road to a blissful slumber. Happy Snoozing!