Did you know it’s estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, or sleep deprivation? Sleep deprivation puts you at risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It can also affect your energy, athletic performance, cognitive health and promote hunger cravings. Additionally, chronic sleep issues have been correlated with anxiety and depression.
Now that you know how beneficial sleep is to your health, here are 3 tips to ensure you get your Zzz’s…
1) Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Light from electronics such as cell phones, televisions, and alarm clocks puts your body in a state of “fight or flight”, which increases the stress hormone, cortisol, and disrupts the production of your sleep hormone, melatonin. It’s a good idea to keep your television out of the bedroom, your phone away from your nightstand and your alarm clock facing away from you. When using your cell phone at night, dim the screen. If you have an iPhone, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. In there, you can schedule your phone to dim to a warmer tone in the evening.
2) Create a nightly routine to wind down. Lower all the lights in your home about an hour before bed and start to wind down with relaxing activities, such as: an epsom salt bath (the magnesium helps to relieve stress and calm your nerves), self massage with lavender oil (lavender promotes relaxation), or jotting down your thoughts in a journal. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep and go to bed at the same time each night, keeping a similar schedule on weekends.
3) Minimize stimulants. Stimulants such as caffeine and sugar will greatly affect your sleep. Caffeine should be avoided after lunch, as it can stay in your system for up to 12 hours! A diet high in sugar can create a blood sugar imbalance, waking you up in the middle of the night. Try caffeine-free beverages and healthier snack options, like a handful of almonds, before bed.
Getting more shut-eye is one of the most important things you can do to achieve optimal health. Start with the above tips and you’ll be well rested in no time.