It takes more than counting sheep to get a good night’s sleep—find out how you can get rest with these tips!
If you’ve ever slept poorly, you know that you feel much better when you’re well-rested. A good night’s sleep helps you feel more alert the next day and may also help keep you healthy.
Studies have found that people who often don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have a number of health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Getting enough sleep can also help the body fight infection and let you perform at your best each day.
Although everyone’s body is different, the general recommendations are that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Teenagers should get eight to ten hours; school-age children need nine to eleven.
While it’s clear that sleep matters for health, many Americans aren’t getting enough. In fact, one in four adults in the U.S. reports not getting enough sleep on about half of the nights in each month.
While getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy, there are things you can do to make it easier to get enough rest. Here are some tips to help you fall asleep and stay asleep:
• Set a bedtime ritual. Try to go to bed around the same time each night, so your body gets used to sleeping at that time. You can help get your mind ready for rest by reading in bed, drinking a cup of warm herbal tea, taking a warm shower, meditating, or praying.
• Avoid caffeine late in the day. Drinks with caffeine, like coffee, tea, and soda, can keep you up at night. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink to one or two cups early in the day so your body will be ready to rest by nighttime.
• Avoid screens at bedtime. The light from your TV, cell phone, or tablet can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Instead, try reading a book or a magazine.
• Keep your bedroom quiet. Loud noises in the middle of the night can wake you, but you can block outside sounds with ear plugs. Another option is to make white noise in your bedroom to drown out other noises. Try leaving a fan on at night, quietly playing music, or using a white noise app. There are lots of free apps with relaxing sounds like rain, ocean waves, and more.
• Make your bedroom dark. Put light-blocking blinds on your bedroom windows to stop outside light from entering the room. If that isn’t enough to keep the bedroom dark, try wearing a sleep mask that covers your eyes.
• Stop worrying. If you can’t sleep, try not to worry about it. Instead, just relax and sleep will come naturally. Stop your mind from wandering into worry—think about a peaceful place or remember a happy experience.
• Talk with your doctor. If you continue to have sleepless nights over a long time and find that nothing works, schedule a visit with your doctor. She or he can talk with you to understand your issues and see if medicines might be an option.
These changes might take some getting used to at first. But once you’ve started to sleep better and feel better, you’ll be glad you gave them a try!
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© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.
Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
“How Much Sleep Do You Need?” National Sleep Foundation. Accessed October 27, 2015.
“Sleep Health,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed October 27, 2015.
“Healthy Sleep Tips,” National Sleep Foundation. Accessed October 27, 2015.
“Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep,” The Mayo Clinic. Accessed October 27, 2015.