Research done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that more than 30 percent of adults in this country sleep less than six hours during a 24-hour time period. There are many and varied reasons for this depending on individual circumstances, but the CDC considers nearly a third of the population to be sleep deprived. If you fall into this category even some of the time you are wise to devise ways to get more rest and make the sleep you do enjoy to be rejuvenating. Try some or all of the following to ensure a great night’s sleep.
Schedule A Daily Date With Sleep
We are all on a schedule, whether for work, school, or activities. One way for you to take charge of your sleep patterns is to schedule a bedtime. Not just for infants and children, arranging for a nightly (or daily if you are working a swing shift) wind down and sleep time will help you get a handle on the amount of sleeping time you are allowing yourself. If it is less than six hours consider an adjustment.
Create A Bedtime Routine
In addition to selecting a bedtime, create a bedtime routine to get you ready for sleep and to signal to others in your life that you are working towards sleep mode. Pamper yourself with a bath or shower, dim the lights, listen to a little soothing music to get yourself in the mood.
Design A Comfy Sleeping Space
Invest in some soft linens and be sure your bed is smoothed and made up for sleep, even if you “make your bed” just immediately before you crawl in. Try different pillows until you find the one that supports you best. Keep the temperature in the room on the low side — cooler temps help our bodies ready themselves for sleep. Be sure you use the bed just for sleeping or intimate activities so you associate pulling up the covers with sleep.
Banish Screen Time For An Hour Or More Before Bed
Reading your messages or surfing the internet on a smartphone, tablet, or computer before bed makes it very hard to wind down into sleep. Backlit screens and blue light screens keep you hopping rather than relaxing. If you must check something at the last minute invest in an app that warms up the light to minimize the effect of a bright, back lit or blue light screen.
Move The TV
It is so tempting to fall asleep to your favorite show but the same issues you have with computer and phone screens are a problem here, too. You also may slip off, but if the television keeps droning on it will interfere with your sleep patterns.
Exercise — But Not Right Before Sleep
Getting exercise every day is great for your health and sleep patterns, but make sure you finish your workout at least four hours before lights out. Any closer and you will have a hard time winding down.
Moderate The Use Of Alcohol Or Mood-Altering Drugs
You may feel like a stiff drink or a mellow glass of wine will send you quickly off to dreamland, but the use of alcohol or other drugs can actually be counterproductive to healthy sleep patterns. Avoid sleeping pills not prescribed by a doctor for the same reason, as they can interfere with natural sleeping habits. Talk at length with a doctor and discuss other ways to improve your sleep if pills are recommended.
Snack And Drink
Do not go to bed thirsty or hungry, but avoid overdoing it. A light snack and a drink of water or warm milk can keep your stomach from growling but not create the conditions for one or more trips to the bathroom during your sleep time.