- Sleep is essential for good health and vitality.
- A consistent schedule and bedtime ritual can train your body to prepare for sleep.
- Regular exercise can help you sleep easier and more deeply.
With increasing demands and endless to-do lists, many of us tend to forgo sleep in order to get more done. However, this practice puts us at risk for sleep deprivation, which has been linked to a myriad of problems: hypertension, obesity, a weakened immune system, negative moods, decreased productivity, and concentration and memory difficulties. Lack of sleep also contributes to accidents at home, at work, and on the road.
Sleep is essential for maintaining good health and well-being. When we go to sleep, our bodies go to work — restoring and re-energizing for the next day. A good night’s sleep also allows our minds to file the day’s experiences and lessons into memory, which improves our ability to master everyday skills. Quality of sleep is also a key factor for improved vitality.
The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, though most adults should have at least seven hours of sleep each night. Here are five tips to help you get the sleep you need.
1. Keep regular hours
Try to go to bed around the same time each night and wake up close to the same time each morning — even on weekends. This helps keep your biological clock in check and trains your body to follow a consistent sleep schedule.
2. Avoid stimulants
Avoid having any coffee, tea, or chocolate later than six hours before bed. Caffeine and other stimulants not only make it harder to fall asleep, but they also prevent the deep sleep your brain and body need by increasing nighttime awakenings.
3. Establish a bedtime ritual
Set up a regular routine of preparing for bed. In addition to brushing and flossing teeth and changing into pajamas, you can include relaxing activities like reading a book or listening to soft music. Doing the same things every evening will signal your body to settle down for the night.
4. Create the ideal sleeping environment
A cool, quiet, dark room is usually the best setting for restful sleep. Make sure your bed offers the comfort and support you need to rest well. Glowing devices such as phone screens and digital clocks should be kept out of sight.
5. Exercise regularly
Studies show that regular exercise can help people get to sleep easier and sleep more deeply. Some form of aerobic exercise — such as walking, jogging, biking, or swimming — for about 30 minutes at least three days a week is a good start. However, do not exercise within two hours of bedtime, as the endorphins released may keep you awake.
For some people, getting adequate sleep is not that easy. If you still have trouble after following these tips, it’s a good idea to check with a medical professional in case a physical condition or mental health issue is affecting your sleep.
It can be difficult to change your current sleeping habits, but the benefits of a good night’s sleep are well worth the effort.
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