Yesterday we talked about that growing group of Americans; the people who are getting too little sleep. Is that you? Do you nod off while reading or watching TV? Do you ever feel like someone sucked the energy right out of you? Do you find it hard to concentrate or be productive? If you can answer yes, you are like me and part of that sleepless group. I feel like that more often that I should. I’m often sleepy and tired and just worn out. I need to get better sleep!
How do you know if you actually fit into that growing group of people who are getting too little sleep? Studies are continually changing recommended sleep times; in fact, another change to recommended sleep times was announced just recently. Recommended sleep times vary with your age. The National Sleep Foundation has released these guidelines: for younger adults, ages 18-25, the sleep range is now 7-9 hours. For adults, ages 26-64, the sleep range remains 7-9 hours. For older adults, ages 65+, the sleep range is 7-8 hours. Remember these are general guidelines and some people will need more sleep. Sound familiar? You need to get better sleep!
If you aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep, there are lots of things you can do to change your sleep habits and make a difference. The answer to this growing health problem isn’t as simple as just going to be earlier. There are lots of things that can be done to get more sleep or better sleep. Here are a few ways to improve your sleep:
Set and keep a regular sleep schedule. You can get better sleep by going to bed at about the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning. Make sure you are including enough time in your schedule to get the recommend number of hours of sleep.
Dim the lights
Too much light in the room can decrease the quality of your sleep. You can get better sleep by reducing even small amounts of light. Be aware of light from nightlights, alarm clocks, electronic devices and other sources you might not expect.
Establish a bed time routine, just like you might do for a child. Eliminate the things that will cause you to stay awake longer or go to bed feeling hyped. Get a relaxing routine established and you will get better sleep.
Reduce distractions and stress
If you are watching television or listening to loud music before bed or as you fall asleep, you could be hurting your ability to sleep well. Try to reduce bedtime distractions and stress and you will get better sleep.
Avoid eating and drinking before bed
Eating and drinking before bed can keep you from getting good sleep. Especially avoid things that contain alcohol, caffeine and lots of sugar will help you get better sleep.
Do you nap during the day? Too much daytime sleeping could be keeping you from getting good sleep. Get better sleep by limiting the amount of naps you take.
Adding more exercise in to your daily routine can help you get better sleep, along with all of the other great benefits of exercise.
Have more ideas or tips on getting better sleep? Let us know, we love to hear from you!