6 Habits for Better Sleep
Not getting enough sleep? You’re not alone. One-third of U.S. adults don’t sleep for the recommended seven hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Lack of sleep can seriously affect your mental and physical health, including depressing the immune system so you get sick more easily and causing hormonal changes,” says Shayla Pullen MD, a sleep medicine specialist who practices at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center and other TriHealth Sleep Centers. “It also can lead to weight gain and cognitive impairments.”
Life in 2018 isn’t helping. Your cellphone, tablet and television all emit a type of blue light that restrains melatonin, which controls your sleep/wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep. “To create good sleep habits, you need to turn off all electronics before going to bed,” says Dr. Pullen. “You should also have a set routine that you follow.”
Stick with the following six habits to help ensure that you wake up refreshed and ready to go.
- Resist the snooze button. As good as that extra seven minutes might seem, it won’t be the quality sleep that will make you feel rested. Instead, set your alarm 10 minutes later, then get up right away.
- Do something physical. A daily 30-minute walk might be the change you need. A 2013 poll found that people who exercise report sleeping better and feeling more rested than those who don’t exercise. Get outside, if possible: Sunlight will help to regulate your body’s internal clock.
- Put your phone down. Turn on do-not- disturb mode to prevent notifications and give your mind a break. Better yet, buy an alarm clock so you can start leaving your phone outside the bedroom.
- Keep your room dark. Hang room-darkening curtains or purchase an eye mask. Even light from a cable box can disrupt the quality of your sleep.
- Avoid alcohol. Drinking before bed may give you the illusion of better sleep, but studies have shown that it interferes with quality shut-eye. Also avoid caffeine from early afternoon on, and heavy meals late at night.
- Keep a consistent schedule. No matter how good it feels to ignore the alarm clock on weekends—don’t. It can shift your body’s natural clock. Keep your sleep/wake schedule as consistent as possible, and follow the same bedtime routine nightly.