In a study from the National Sleep Foundation, over 40% of Americans have a problem with inadequate sleep or sleeping problems. These can not only make us irritable but have been linked to health problems such as heart attack or stroke. A chronic sleep deficit can even lead to increased daily anxiety and clinical depression.
Our bodies require ample amount of sleep to concentrate and focus as well as fight against germs and fight against disease. Current research shows that individuals that get less than 7 hours of sleep are 3 times more likely to be susceptible to colds. It has also been documented that weight loss is easier to accomplish for those that get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Here are 8 tips to trying to improve your sleep:
- Keep work materials, computers and cell phones out of the bedroom. It should be for sleep only.
- Avoid hitting snooze. Every time the alarm goes off, it interrupts sleep. Set the alarm for a later time and get up when it goes off.
- Put stress to bed. Just before sleep, write down all your concerns and to-dos to help you turn off the mind at the end of the day.
- Create a dark environment. Light from any electronic device can upset your natural sleep cycle. If it is hard to block out the light try using an eye mask.
- Mute your environment. Drown out ambient sound with earplugs or a white noise machine.
- Exercise at the right time. Doing 30 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise 4 hours before you try to sleep can help your sleep cycles.
- Turn down the heat. Most people sleep best between the temperature of 68-72 degrees.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine or eating 3 hours before bed as all of these can have adverse effects.
Every individual needs different amounts of sleep. Some do better on 6 hours, while others may need 10. To find out how much sleep you need, start with 6 hours every night for a week. Continue adding 30 minutes a week until you no longer wake up tired. Use this tip to stay healthy and find out how much sleep you need.
Written by: Chris Athos, MPT COMT