Do you have a good sleep routine? Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. Lack of proper sleep can negatively impact every system of the body from our balance and vestibular system, digestion, hormones and even our memory.
Sleep deficiency has been linked to serious health issues, including an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. It can also contribute to decreased mood, slower reflexes, and poor problem-solving skills.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends adults 18 years or older get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. However, according to a new Consumer Report, it’s estimated that 68% or roughly 164 million Americans, struggling with sleep at least once a week.
Getting A Good Night’s Rest
If you are not getting enough sleep, we recommend re-evaluating your evening routines to see if there are changes you can make to get a better night’s rest. By adopting simple bedtime habits, we can create a successful sleep routine.
A good sleep routine begins with making better choices:
- Limit caffeine and nicotine intake. These stimulants can negatively impact sleep. Skip that afternoon cup of coffee or soda and drink water with dinner.
- Avoid eating dinner within a few hours of bedtime as this can increase brain activity.
- Don’t drink liquids after dinner. This decreases the need to use the bathroom at night.
- Limit your electronics use one hour prior to bedtime. Bright lights, televisions and smart phones stimulate your brain.
- Get into a relaxed state before bed. Take a warm bath with Epsom salts, read a book, or use relaxation techniques, like meditation or mindful breathing, to calm your brain.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. A consistent sleep schedule will help your body regulate its internal clock, known as circadian rhythm.
- Create a pleasant sleep environment. Your mattress, bedding and pillows should be comfortable. Keep your bedroom cool– between 60 and 67 degrees.
Improving your sleep quality won’t happen overnight; it takes time for your body to adjust to the changes. However, if you stick with the changes, you should see sleep improvements. If you still experience problems with sleep, we encourage you to speak with your doctor.
For more information on sleep habits, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s “Your Guide to Healthy Sleep” at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/all-publications-and-resources/your-guide-healthy-sleep.