We all have a poor night of sleep once in a while; it’s almost inevitable. But chronic insufficient sleep can have detrimental effects on your health. Johns Hopkins notes problems that can develop; “chronic poor sleep may increase the likelihood of developing dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries, and prostate. Poor sleep can also affect the ability to function while performing daily tasks like working or driving.”
Many people suffer from sleep disorders; NCBI says, “up to 70 million people in the US and ~45 million people in Europe have a chronic sleep disorder that impacts daily functioning and health.”
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, be sure to speak with your doctor. You may suffer from conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or insomnia. These conditions can require medical intervention, so speak with your physician. Additionally, follow these tips for a better night of rest.
Ten tips for better sleep
1. Turn off screens or put on night mode. The light can promote wakefulness and keep your brain active.
2. Avoid caffeine five-to-six hours before bedtime. Caffeine might hinder your ability to fall asleep.
3. Stick to a routine. Getting up and going to bed at the same time each day (even on the weekends) can help you get better sleep.
4. Go to bed in a comfortable setting. Close the curtains, turn the temperature down slightly to avoid overheating at night, and use a sound machine if necessary.
5. Eat an appropriate snack. If you get hungry before you go to bed, opt for a snack with protein. Try almonds, whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, or whole-grain cereal.
6. Try to get regular physical activity during the day. Those that workout regularly report fewer sleep problems and daytime tiredness.
7. Don’t nap for too long during the day. Try to keep naps to thirty minutes or less and make sure they are not near bedtime.
8. Avoid alcohol and tobacco products at night. These can make rest difficult.
9. Increase natural light exposure during the day. Studies show that this helps people to sleep at night.
10. Start a relaxing nighttime routine. In order to wind down, try reading a book, taking a bath, or meditating before bed.
Most experts agree that adults should aim for eight hours of rest per night. Many of us get less than that, which can be harmful to health. Try to make rest a priority in order to function better during the day. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, speak to your doctor.