Sleep – few activities occupy so much of our time yet are so overlooked in importance. A ResMed-Dr. Oz survey of 20,000 people found nearly 80% of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night (the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to nine hours). The survey also found women tend to get 24 additional minutes of sleep compared to men, who average five hours, 45 minutes per night.
Missing out on your Z’s can have a serious impact on both your wealth and health. Researchers estimate Americans’ lack of sleep costs the U.S. $411 billion per year. Even short-term sleep deprivation can add to your stress levels, exacerbate symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure, and migraines, throw your hormones out of balance, and put you at greater risk for developing diabetes.
Are you getting enough sleep? See how you answer the following:
- Do you feel irritable and/or stressed out during the day?
- Do you experience intense food cravings?
- Do you need multiple servings of caffeine or other stimulants to get through the day?
- Do you find yourself dozing off for even a second or two during idle moments?
- Do you feel sluggish or have low energy?
If you found yourself answering “yes” to many of these, chances are you could use some more Z’s.
Here are some tips for getting enough rest and improving your sleep quality.
- Have a set sleep schedule. Experiment with sleep length (7-9 hours is optimal for most adults) and keep the same bedtime and wake time, even on weekends.
- Keep a nighttime ritual, whether it’s some light reading or meditating before bed.
- Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Dim your lights or use softer lighting in the evenings so your body’s natural circadian rhythms can prepare you for sleep. Similarly, get sunlight in the morning to help your body wake up.
- Cut back on caffeine and alcohol.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes per day and preferably midday.
- Get a comfortable mattress and pillows and a sleep mask if you can’t eliminate all light from your bedroom.
- Have a small bedtime snack (150-250 calories) to prevent low blood sugar while you sleep.
What other tips and tricks have helped you sleep well? Share them below.
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