This post is part of a series of posts in recognition of Sleep Awareness Week, an annual campaign initiated by the National Sleep Foundation that runs from March 2-8, 2015. Be sure to follow SoClean on Facebook and Twitter for helpful tips and tricks as we celebrate this important campaign.
Do you have a hard time sleeping at night? If so, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 50-70 million adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. It’s such a huge problem that the CDC considers insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. Let that sink in for a second.
The thing is, not getting enough sleep at night doesn’t just make you feel tired; it can actually affect your body in a number of unpleasant ways – both physically and psychologically.
But fear not, dear sleep-deprived readers. There’s hope for you yet. Here are some tips that can help you get that glorious good night’s sleep you deserve.
- Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Bedtimes are just for kids, right? Wrong! Going to sleep at the same time every night helps to regulate your body’s clock so that you have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. Yes, this does mean going to sleep the same time on weekends as on weeknights (*sad trombone*) but trust us, your body will thank you.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine close to your bedtime. A glass of wine as you’re winding down at the end of the night might help you fall asleep easier, but it’s actually doing more harm than good by hindering the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine sounds pretty obvious, but did you know that caffeine can affect your sleep up to 10 hours later? It might be time to eliminate that afternoon cup of coffee – or at least switch to decaf.
[caption id="attachment_9425" align="alignright" width="300"]It might be time to switch to decaf for your afternoon cup of coffee.[/caption]
- Enhance your sleep environment. This is really just a fancy way of saying “make your bedroom comfortable.” Is your mattress old enough to legally vote? Do you find yourself genuinely wondering if it’s possible to sweat to death? Can you hear your neighbors through the thin walls? These are all problems that make your bedroom uncomfortable and interfere with your sleep. Consider making some changes to improve your mattress quality, the temperature and the noise level.
Reserve your bedroom for sleep (and sex). When it comes down to it, you want your brain to associate your bedroom with sleep. This becomes difficult when you use this area to work, exercise or engage in other non-sleep activities. The only exception is sex, but that’s a whole other post!
[caption id="attachment_9427" align="alignleft" width="300"]Your smartphone could be preventing you from falling asleep.[/caption]
- Step away from the electronics. There’s no way all the devices we use aren’t bad for us, right? As much as we’d like to believe otherwise. In regards to sleep specifically, studies have shown that the light that emanates from laptops, smartphones and other devices can prevent the release of melatonin, a hormone associated with sleep. Plus, devices can stimulate your mind when you should be relaxing it. Let’s face it, it’s probably not a good idea to be Snapchatting or Facebooking late at night anyway.
While these tips can certainly help you sleep better at night, there are some sleep disorders that require specialized treatment from a sleep doctor. It’s important to know the symptoms of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders so that you can do what you need to do to improve your sleep and your overall health.
Also in our Sleep Awareness Week series: