If you think you’re the only one who’s tossing and turning at night and unable to sleep – unfortunately, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 35.2 percent of all adults do not sleep for at least seven hours. While there is no hard-and-fast rule on how many hours of sleep we should get, experts say that adults should have at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This can have some adverse effects on our body: A study conducted by the University of Leeds states that people who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight. They are also more likely to develop metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
In contrast, a good night’s sleep has a plethora of benefits. Aside from it being an integral component in the development of our physical and mental well-being, sleep can also help us learn better – as information we have gathered throughout the day is processed during our sleep.
Here are some tips from the website Scripps.org to help you start that well-deserved good night’s sleep:
1. Limit caffeine. There’s a reason why we take coffee early in the day: A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that caffeine, the substance that wakes us up in coffee, has sleep disruptive properties that can be felt six hours after drinking it. If you must drink coffee, try to limit it to one drink early in the day.
2. Get regular exercise. “Not being active enough during the day can make it harder for you to sleep at night, regular exercise can help you sleep better,” explains Dr. Lon Manson, a family medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo. However, pay attention to when you exercise: Working out too close to your bedtime may keep you awake since you’re too alert to go to sleep. In turn, better sleep can help you out with your exercise as well – you feel more motivated to work out after a good night’s sleep.
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3. Eat light at night. Having a full meal too close to your bedtime makes it hard for your body to sleep. Have dinner earlier and nibble light snacks if you are still hungry after. Besides, eating earlier not only benefits your sleep, but it can also help you manage your glucose tolerance and cholesterol levels.
4. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Make sure that you go to bed and wake up at the same time daily. This programs our body’s natural clock to get regular sleep. A lack of a regular sleep schedule, on the other hand, can contribute to poor sleep quality, as noted by a study.
5. Keep it quiet. In a survey conducted by the Sleep Foundation, 74 percent of respondents noted that a quiet room is an important factor in getting a good night’s sleep. Experts suggest using an earplug, a fan, or a white-noise machine to isolate noise if it is unavoidable.
6. Turn off your phone. The bright, crisp light your phone has is the stuff that wakes you up – thanks to the blue wavelength light it emits. This interacts with cells in your retina which are most sensitive to it. The effect is so pronounced that even small bursts of light from your phone (a message alert, for example) may cause a person to be more alert. Dr. Manson suggests turning off your phones an hour before bedtime. If you have to use your phone during that time, keep it at least 14 inches from your face and dim the brightness to reduce the amount of blue light your eyes get.
7. Relax. An hour before sleeping, wind down from all your activities. Take a warm shower, meditate, listen to music, or simply read. (Related: Get better quality sleep with daily yoga and meditation.)
Take control of your sleep. Learn more ways to get a good night’s sleep at Natural.news.