On average, adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night according to the National Sleep Foundation. However, about 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended amount of shut-eye. Though some people can skate by with as little as 6 hours of sleep without signs of sleepiness or drowsiness, other can’t perform their best until they’ve reached at least 7-9 hours and some even need 10 hours. Sleep is as important to our health as diet and exercise so, if you’re not getting the minimum recommend amount of sleep, you’re likely suffering the consequences. One way to get better sleep is to determine what’s causing you the restlessness, insomnia, or other sleep disorders. Snoring, for instance, is the primary cause for sleep disruption for around ninety million adults; for thirty-seven million of them, it’s a regular problem. Maybe it’s not a health problem and just a poor habit of going to bed too late(which is the primary cause of excessive sleepiness among Americans) or consuming caffeine too close to bedtime. Whatever the cause may be, not getting enough sleep can increase your appetite, lead to weight gain, increase stress, and cause a slew of other health issues. To make sure you get a good night’s rest, here are tips for achieving more zzz’s.
Stick to a Schedule
Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day will reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle, promoting better sleep. If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, though, the Mayo Clinic suggests you get up and do something relaxing, coming back to bed only when you’re tired.
Start a Bedtime Routine
Create a nightly schedule and end every night the same way. Whether you take a shower, read, or listen to music, do something relaxing to make the transition from wakefulness to sleep easier.
Make Your Room Comfortable
Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet to achieve optimal sleep. Make sure the bed you’re sleeping on and your pillows are comfortable.
Taking a nap during the day can make it harder to get to sleep later at night. If you do need a nap, then make it no longer than 10-30 minutes.
Regular physical activity can improve the quality of sleep, helping you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. Don’t exercise close to bedtime, though, as it can give you energy and prevent you from being tired enough to sleep.
Avoid Electronics Near Bedtime
Watching television or using your phone or another electronic device can make it harder to sleep. Instead, read a book or magazine to relax.
Avoid Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Food Late at Night
In addition to caffeine, these can disrupt sleep. Eating a lot or having something spicy can cause discomfort from indigestion which makes it harder to sleep.
Talk to a Doctor
If you have serious problems falling asleep no matter what you do, speak to a medical professional for help.