Sleep mistakes worth correcting – tonight!
Yawning your way through your workday? According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 30% of us sleep fewer than 6 hours a night. For the record, sleep experts say we should aim for somewhere between 7 and 9 hours.
Welcome to our insomnia-crazed culture.
Shortchanging ourselves on sleep can have big-time negative effects on health. Weight-gain, a stressed immune system, inability to focus and reduced memory are just a few of the short-term effects. Long term health effects from sleep deprivation include high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes – to name just a few.
If you’re one of the estimated 40.6 million adult Americans who could stand to spend a few more hours in bed each night, it’s time to make sleep a priority. Check out our list of sleep savers and start sleeping better tonight.
- Practice yoga in the evening – If you’re a yoga aficionado, you already know the amazing health benefits yoga offers. Doing yoga later in the day reduces pent up muscle stress and helps you begin the relaxation needed for sleep – long before you get to bed. If yoga’s new to you, start slow and don’t overstretch. This yoga tutorial will help you with poses that are believed to be best for preparing for rest and relaxation.
- Drink warm milk – What if a better night’s sleep was a close as a bedtime snack? Sleep experts have long believed diet can directly impact sleep quality and quantity. Our mothers have always known this. Whether its glass of warm milk or a cup of chamomile tea or even a nibble of dark chocolate, food can be powerful medicine. Enjoy your bedtime snack.
- Set a bedtime and stick to it – We’re creatures of habit and sticking to a sleep routine is the easiest way to get the sleep we need every night. Set a doable bedtime and stick to it. Anticipating that moment you’ll lie your head down on your pillow and close your eyes will set off a complicated set of triggers in your brain – all aimed at shutting things down so you can rest.
- Set a bedtime for your electronics – Light plays an important role in our ability to sleep and wake at expected times. Electronics emit a cool, bright light that’s similar to sunrise – not the deep, warm colors of sunset. While cool light helps us see our screens better, it also sends a wake-up call to our brains. Stop sending mixed signals to your brain by powering down electronics an hour before bed. .
- Cool & darken your room – When it comes to sleep, light is to your brain as temperature is to your body. Too hot and you’ll be tossing and turning in an effort to cool down. Too cold and you’ll be shivering and hunting for another blanket in the middle of the night. Set your thermostat for 65-69F or crack open your window if your bedroom is naturally warm. A temperature-controlled-mattress is another great option.
- Read a book – Now that you’ve put electronics to bed and the TV’s off limits, we recommend a good old-fashioned book. Snuggle up in your favorite chair or crawl into bed and dive in – best sleep medicine in the world.
- Hydrate earlier in the day – If you’ve ever taken a prescription to help you sleep, you either slept like a dream or felt it was a waste of your money that delivered nothing more than a slew of uncomfortable side effects. If you want to stay on the drug-free side of healthy sleep, start with a big glass of water – before your first coffee in the morning. Early hydration and a protein-rich breakfast kick starts your metabolism, which will help you make healthier choices for the rest of the day. Click over to our sleep right cheat sheet: 17 ultimate sleep hacks.
- Cut out the caffeine earlier in the day – If you’re a coffee person, giving up your morning cup-a-joe may be too high a price for better sleep. While no one can tell you exactly how much coffee is safe before life with less sleep is your reality, research is helping us understand what constitutes sensible consumption. This post will help you sort out the coffee conundrum.
- Meditate during the day – If you’re stressed, your sleep suffers and suffering from sleep deprivation can lead to increased stress – talk about a vicious cycle. So how do you slow down, de-stress and sleep better? There’s no one answer that will work for everyone but a few tweaks to your sleep schedule may help you slow your pace and catch a better night’s sleep. These tips will help you reduce stress and sleep better.
- Create a sleep spa – Sleep spas are the newest thing with the spa-goer set. It might be a fad but what if you could create a sleep spa in your own bedroom? We’re betting you’ll wake up bent on maintaining your status as a newly anointed sleep ambassador. Thankfully creating a sleep spa at home isn’t difficult – as long as you’re focused on the goal. Learn how to create your own sleep spa.