Americans are famous for feeling like we can just do it all! Not enough hours in the day? No problem. We can just get it done when we should be sleeping. But most of us know that is not a healthy solution in the long run.
The Mayo Clinic recommends at least 7-8 hours for an adult and more for children. In addition to simply making a commitment to go to bed on time, there are ways you can promote healthy sleep habits:
- Make your environment sleep-friendly. How comfortable is the area in which you sleep? Creating that space is as important as the number of hours you sleep. Each person has a unique sleep style, so don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to find yours. You may find the key to a good night’s sleep is a dark room, good air temperature and movement, bedding that you love, or the noise level that works for you. Some folks enjoy a fan, others a sound machine. Yet others, need complete silence. Play with that and find your perfect zone!
- Studies show that going to bed hungry or stuffed can have a detrimental effect on how you sleep. Avoid heavy meals for at least two hours before bedtime. Alcohol, coffee or other caffeinated drinks can disrupt your sleep pattern. Always think you need a bedtime snack? Reach for a glass of water and see if you can develop a water habit before bed. This not only eliminates adding food that might cause a stomach upset, but gives your body some extra water to remain hydrated overnight.
- Lastly, let’s talk about snoring. If you are a heavy snorer, it might be worth your time to check with your doctor about sleep apnea. A simple overnight test could produce results to set you on a path of getting a better night’s sleep, which will likely have a positive impact on your overall health. Risk factors for sleep apnea include age and obesity. It’s more common in men. Symptoms include snoring loudly and feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep. Treatment often includes lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, and the use of a breathing assistance device at night, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
Good sleep is a valuable tool for keeping you healthy and productive. And we all want more of that!