Sleep is important: it’s a time for your body and brain to relax and recharge. Unfortunately it's estimated that nearly 37% of Americans are not getting enough sleep. And while many of us may want to shrug off not getting enough zzz’s as a side effect of living in the busy modern world, sleep deprivation often leads to more serious issues than feelings of lethargy.
Did you know that if you are continually not getting the recommended amount of sleep you may be posing some serious risks to your health? Problems that could arise from constant lack of sleep include headaches, obesity, depression and even heart disease. If you work at a job that involves operating a vehicle or heavy machinery you even run the risk of injuring yourself or someone else on the job.
The best way to avoid sleep deprivation is to take measures to help ensure you’re not only sleeping for the recommended amount of time (7 to 9 hours a night), but also that you’re getting the most relaxed night of sleep that you can. Here’s five simple steps you can take in order to always get a great night’s sleep and reduce any health risks that are attributed to sleep deprivation.
Make a Schedule and Stick to it
For a good night’s sleep, a regular schedule is key. Begin going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This means on the weekends too! When you pick your bedtime, make sure it’s no less than 7 hours from the time you have to wake up. The consistency of going to sleep and waking up at the same time will set your body’s internal clock so that even waking up won’t be a struggle. Eventually, you may not even need to use an alarm clock!
De-stress Throughout the Day
Stress builds up throughout our day and can interfere with your ability to turn your mind off and relax once you lay down for the night. Instead of trying to shut off the stress all at once right before you go to bed, try to find ways to manage it throughout the day. When you start feeling overwhelmed, try taking a few calming breaths; you may even want to consider meditation in the early evening to unwind.
Be Wary of Napping
A long nap during the day could seriously affect how you’ll sleep that upcoming night. If you do feel the need for a nap, try to limit the length of it to 10 to 30 minutes, and don’t settle in for one any later than mid-afternoon.
Be Careful About What You Eat and Drink
It’s pretty common knowledge that a cup of coffee right before bed might make sleeping difficult. But even caffeine in the early afternoon and evening could affect your sleep. You’ll also want to be careful to never go to bed hungry or overstuffed, as this could also disrupt your sleep.
If you want to fall asleep faster and get an even deeper night of sleep, it’s important to exercise daily. Physical activity will use up extra energy you have that might otherwise be spent on tossing and turning. Be careful not to exercise too late in the day though. Endorphins in your body are produced immediately after you exercise and this may make you too energized to go to sleep.
Give us a call at Genesis Medical if you have an concerns about how much sleep you or a family member is getting. Remember, it’s normal to have the occasional sleepless night, but if your lack of sleep is constant, there may be something else going on. You want to be sure you get the best sleep possible so you can continue enjoying a happy and healthy life!