When it comes to living healthy lives, we often focus on eating well and exercising. But getting enough sleep is just as important.
According to the CDC, one-third of adults in the U.S. aren’t sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours a night. And chronic sleep loss can contribute to a host of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and even psychosis.
Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, said no one is immune. “Based on the weight of probably now about 10,000 empirical scientific studies, the number of people who can survive on six hours of sleep or less without showing any impairment, rounded to a whole number and expressed as a percent of the population, is zero,” he told ESPN.
Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine for the department of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said sleep affects every part of the body. In other words, when it comes to sleep loss, “Think about it as punching your other organs.”
So how do we avoid these harmful consequences? By following these 10 simple tips and getting better rest!
1. Limit daytime naps.
Napping for more than 30 minutes can take a toll, especially if you tend to have trouble sleeping at night.
2. Expose yourself to bright light during the morning and day.
This will help keep your circadian rhythms in sync, so when it gets dark, your body will naturally grow tired.
3. Avoid caffeine later in the day.
As most people know, caffeine is a stimulant that will help you feel more awake. So staying away from it when the sun sets will make it easier for your body to wind down.
4. Stick to a schedule.
Studies have found that going to sleep and waking up around the same time (even on the weekends) can improve your rest in the long run.
5. Keep screen time to a minimum before bed.
Electronic devices like smartphones and laptops emit blue light, which can trick your body into believing it’s daytime (think No. 2). It’s also known to delay the release of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep.
6. Take a melatonin supplement.
Melatonin is a popular sleep aid that has been shown to improve sleep and help people relax faster.
7. Exercise regularly.
Not only can daily sweat sessions effectively fight insomnia, but they can also make it easier to stay asleep longer. Just don’t work out right before bed because it can increase your alertness.
8. Be careful with late-night eating.
Going to bed too hungry or too full makes it much harder to relax. Plus, a large meal may affect the release of melatonin.
9. Create an environment conducive to sleep.
The best way to achieve easy snoozing is to pair a comfortable bed with silence, cool temperatures, and a dark room.
10. See your doctor.
If you’ve tried these tips and aren’t seeing any results, consider talking to a medical professional. You may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder, which calls for more tailored guidance!
We’re feeling more rested already! It’s so easy to sacrifice an hour of sleep here and there, so we’re grateful for the reminder to prioritize all aspects of our health.
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