Better Night’s Sleep
We all know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. And if you’re one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from sleep deprivation, you’re all too well acquainted with the problems lack of sleep can cause.
According to the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, “After several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.”
That’s a pretty big consequence for such a small amount of sleep deprivation! And in this fast paced, electronics driven world in which we live, it’s not uncommon for most of us to go without an hour or two of sleep every night.
Although sleep needs vary from individual to individual, a basic guideline from the National Sleep Foundation states that the average adult should get between 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night. Babies and toddlers can require from 12-18 hours of sleep each day, and children and teens can require from 8.5 up to 13 hours a night.
Take some time to figure out your optimal level of sleep and strive to achieve that every night by setting regular routines. Incorporate some of the tips below to increase the quality and quantity of sleep you enjoy every night.
1. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach. Try not to eat for at least 2-3 hours before lying down to sleep.
2. Don’t go to bed in pain if you suffer from a chronic condition. Chronic pain not only reduces your chances of restful sleep, and can also lead to depression and other issues that can decrease your quality of life. Consult a doctor (or two or three) to assess your options for pain management. Beware of doctors who quickly prescribe pharmaceuticals to aid your pain and sleep issues – always seek a second or third opinion, and don’t be afraid to hear out alternative therapies that can provide more natural solutions to improve your health.
3. Turn off and remove all electronics from you bedroom if possible. Things like artificial light and constant cell phone noises will disrupt your sleep patterns, even when you are unaware of them. Artificial light will stimulate the mind and body, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
4. Going to bed with a full bladder. Trying to get a good night’s rest while trying to hold your bladder all night is very difficult and can lead to bladder problems.
5. Being too cold or hot will make it difficult to find peaceful sleep. Having cold feet and hands can make it especially difficult to be content. Make sure you set an atmosphere that creates a restful temperature for your body.
6. Don’t take or drink stimulants 4-6 hours before bedtime. Things like nicotine, soda, caffeinated tea, chocolate and coffee are all some of the stimulants that can make it difficult to find a good night’s rest.
7. Noise… loud noises or environments with constant street noise can make it difficult to find rest. Attempt to sound proof your room, use ear plugs, or find a device that will generate a low level of white noise to help you achieve a good night’s sleep.