According to the CDC*, more than one-third of U.S. adults routinely sleep fewer than six hours a night. That’s bad news! The benefits of getting enough sleep include better heart health, less stress, improved memory and weight loss.
Along with diet and exercise, sleep is one of the three pillars of health. It helps your overall mood, strengthens immunity and promotes clearer thinking. In honor of World Sleep Day on March 15, check out these tips to help you get better sleep.
- Develop a sleep routine.
Go to bed at the same time every night even on weekends and holidays to establish your internal sleep clock. Adults 18-60 should get 7 or more hours of sleep per night.1
- Get some exercise.
Regular exercise helps you sleep better. Just be sure to wrap it up several hours before bedtime so that you’re not too revved up to get a good night’s sleep.
- Change your diet.
Cut out food and drinks that contain caffeine by mid-afternoon. Make dinner your lightest meal and finish it a few hours before bedtime.
- Don’t smoke.
Nicotine is a stimulant, just like caffeine. Tobacco can keep you from falling asleep and make insomnia worse. Smoking can make sleep apnea worse, making it hard to get restful sleep.
- Say no to a nightcap.
Alcohol can make you drowsy at bedtime, but after its initial effects wear off, you’ll wake up more often overnight. Warm milk and chamomile tea are better choices.
- Power down.
Light from electronic devices stimulates the brain, making it harder to wind down. Put your gadgets away an hour before bedtime to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly.
- Hog the bed.
Everyone deserves their own sleeping space, so keep the pets out of your bed. Many pet owners who sleep with their pets report sleep disruption every night.
- Keep it temperate, not tropical.
80 degrees may be great for the beach, but it’s bad for the bedroom at night. You’ll drift off faster and sleep more deeply if the room and your bedding are not too warm.
- Black it out.
Light tells your brain that it’s time to wake up, so make your room as dark as possible for sleep. Even a small amount of ambient light from your cell phone or computer can disrupt your sleep.
- Save your bed for sleeping.
Your bedroom should feel relaxing and be associated with sleeping, not working, eating or watching TV.
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention