We all know that a good night’s sleep is important. Not only do we feel better when we are well-rested, but we function better too. In fact, sufficient sleep plays a vital role in our mental, physical, and emotional health- not to mention our general safety and performance in our everyday lives.
So if sleep is so important, why are we constantly neglecting it? According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
Its recommended that adults aged 18-60 sleep at least 7 hours each night. Are you falling short? Here are 5 tips to help get you back on track:
- Get adequate sunshine exposure throughout the day Your body actually wants to help you with your sleep schedule. The body has a natural clock known as the circadian rhythm that helps you stay awake and tells your body when its time to sleep. Getting natural sunshine (or bright light) during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This can improve your energy throughout the day and help you sleep better and longer at night.
- Limit light exposure at night For the same reasons sunlight exposure during the day is important, limiting the exposure to light at night matters. This includes the blue light that is emitted from electronic devices. Try powering down 2 hours before bed to help improve your sleep quality.
- Try to maintain a normal sleep schedule That circadian rhythm we discussed earlier thrives on consistency. Taking unexpected naps throughout the day or waking/going to bed at random hours is not doing your body any favors. Consistency with your sleep and waking times can help improve your long-term sleep quality.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day Though a healthy intake of caffeine during the day can enhance focus and energy, its effect can make it difficult to unwind at night. Caffeine can stimulate your nervous system, which makes it difficult for your body to unwind the way it typically would at night.
- Exercise during the day Exercise has numerous health benefits, and improving your sleep quality is another bonus. Sleeping can help reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and reduce anxious thoughts that may keep you awake. However, try to avoid exercising too closely to bedtime as exercise tends to increase your alertness, which would be counterproductive to falling asleep.
Ultimately, poor sleep patterns can lead to obesity, lack of productivity, mental issues, and all sorts of other problems. Focusing on getting a good night’s sleep should be made a top priority for achieving optimal well-being.