Have you been feeling grumpy of late? Disoriented and irritable? Chances are you’re not doing very well at work or school either. You could be suffering from insomnia. And you’re not alone.
Imagine all the issues that could interfere with a good night’s sleep: A dust-up with your significant other, an overbearing boss on your back demanding a late report, a delayed mortgage payment, or even a losing a much-adored pet. With so much stress in people’s lives no wonder you’re likely to meet so many other red-eyed and dazed people on the streets these days.
A report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states 35% of adult Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, sleeping less than seven hours a night. This is contributing serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and mental breakdowns.
Maybe you find it impossible to control all the factors contributing to your lack of sleep but it’s comforting to know there are habits you can adopt to encourage better sleep. Here are some sleep tips:
1. Avoid Devices, Laptops, Smartphones Before Bed
American culture is inundated with electronic devices. As your body needs time to adjust itself for sleep, shut off all electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The light that comes from the screen can activate the brain and interfere with sensors that trigger sleep. Studies also suggest that light pollution while sleeping can contribute to cancer
2. Watch What You Eat and Drink
Don’t overeat or overdrink. This may delay sleep considerably and keep you up at night. This will also promote night trips to the bathroom that can disrupt sleep. If you can, keep off nicotine, tobacco, and caffeine. They take hours to wear off your system and can wreak havoc in your attempts at dozing off.
Related: Harmful Effects of Staying Up Late
3. Pamper Yourself and Get Cozy
Get a mattress and pillow that make you feel pampered. Place your bed in a cool, dark and quiet room. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, consider covering your ears with earplugs to shut out the street noise. If you have kids and pets, prepare places next to you or insist on separate sleeping quarters.
4. Avoid Quickie Naps
Avoid grabbing quickie naps in between working schedules. They may help you get through the day but if you find it impossible sleep at night, avoid them altogether.
5. Exercise Regularly
Develop and maintain a healthy exercise regime. Exercise decreases levels of stress hormone that could be contributing to your lack of sleep. Exercise release endorphins that promote relaxation. Get thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily, such as running, biking, walking and swimming.
6. Avoid Medications
Unless you’re ailing, avoid taking medication before going to bed. Many drugs such as high blood pressure medication, contraceptives, corticosteroids, ADHD, antidepressants and pain relievers contain caffeine and can interfere with sleep.
7. Prepare a Sleep Schedule
Make a habit of going to bed and waking up at a specific hour even during the weekends when you don’t have to leave for work or school. If you can’t fall asleep the first 20 minutes, get up and do something else. Read or watch a late night show. Anything relaxing. Go back to bed and try to sleep once you’ve had enough.
If taking the steps outlined above doesn’t make you sleep better at night, then it’s time to visit your doctor to see if there are other underlying health problems. If you’re looking to achieve the highest levels of productivity, a good night’s sleep is not negotiable. The consequences of lacking sleep can manifest themselves physically and emotionally and can interfere with your desire to achieve a high-quality lifestyle.
Related: 8 Foods that Help You Sleep Better