Sleep plays an important role in overall wellbeing. Getting sufficient sleep is crucial to revive the body and promote healing, muscle recovery, and memory. Regardless of age, it is important to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep can be affected for several reasons ranging from stress, use of certain medications, and stress to chronic illness. A study from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that smoking prevalence, physical inactivity, and obesity are substantially higher among men and women who slept less than 6 hours than among those who slept 7 to 8 hours. The good news is that adopting certain behaviors can improve sleep, and enhance health and quality of life.
How to Sleep Better
Practicing these healthy behaviors every day can encourage better sleep –
- Stick to a sleeping schedule For a healthy person, the recommended amount of sleep is at least seven hours. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. Following a consistent sleep schedule reinforces the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Do more physical activity – Being physically active supports restful sleep. Perform 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Find the right exercises based on your needs and abilities. However, avoid being too active close to bedtime.
- Limit daytime naps – Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep schedule. Limit naps to no more than 20 minutes and avoid napping late in the day.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine – Dim the lights, reduce noises and avoid the use of technology gadgets. Meditation and soft relaxing sounds can help promote better sleep. Makes sure bedroom temperature is right for sleep. Per the National Sleep Foundation, around 65 degrees makes for the best sleep. Before going to bed, make sure there are blankets and pillows for your comfort. Use room-darkening shades to create an environment that is conducive to sleep.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink – Never go to bed hungry or stuffed. Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime as it can cause discomfort and make it difficult for you to sleep. Also, avoid caffeine after midday as it is a stimulant that can limit restfulness. It is also a diuretic that can increase the need to urinate at night.
- Manage stress – Try to resolve or manage stressful thoughts or concerns before bedtime. List down what’s on your mind and then set it aside as top priority for the next day.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to health issues and trigger anxiety disorders and depression. Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. But if the problem persists, talk to your doctor. Identifying and treating the underlying causes and adopting a healthy lifestyle and simple behavior changes can improve your sleep health.