Getting an appropriate amount of restful sleep is important for a variety of reasons. Sleep effects our mental and cognitive function, our immune systems, and our general overall health. If we are not getting enough sleep, we may experience poor health outcomes including new or worsening anxiety and depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, about 1/3 of adults in the United States are not getting enough sleep.
There are many things that we can do to help improve our quality and duration of sleep. If you are struggling to get adequate sleep, try to incorporate at least a few of the following recommendations into your daily bedtime routine:
– Have a sleep schedule: Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day.
– Avoid naps, especially later in the day.
– Limit caffeine during the day, especially within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
– Exercise daily: The current recommendations are to get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise.
– Avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
– Create a relaxing sleep environment: this may include a cool bedroom, blackout curtains or an eye mask, and a sound machine or ear plugs.
– If you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, go into a different room and participate in a relaxing activity until you feel drowsy enough to fall asleep again.