May 22, 2019
How much sleep do you get a night? Most sleep experts recommend getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Is your response an automatic “Are you kidding!? I’m lucky if I can fall asleep and not toss and turn all night. I can’t shut off my brain.”
A good night’s sleep isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. Most experts agree that getting enough sleep is equally as important to your health as diet and exercise. A consistent lack of sleep can contribute to many health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain — the list goes on.
Try these tips from the sleep experts to help you get the sleep you need:
- Don’t drink caffeine after 2:00 pm. Likewise, limit alcohol and nicotine in the p.m.
- Create a cool, quiet, dark environment (between 60-67 degrees is optimal. I was skeptical, but it really helps!)
- Keep your bedroom a clutter-free, calm sanctuary (think hotel room minimalism)
- Use your bed for sleep and sex only.
- Keep your pets off your bed. (Sorry, Fido/Fluffy)
- Stretch before bed to relax muscles.
Beyond these basics, our resident sleep evangelist Lisa loves to tell us how important it is to understand how your body clock works.
Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and to find out how much sleep you personally need. Lisa does great with 7.5 hours and wakes up without an alarm clock. Experiment to find your magic number.
- Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends.
- Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon. Better yet, learn to meditate regularly.
Control your exposure to light.
- Pull shades tightly at night, creating darkest space possible. Lift shades first thing in the morning to get in sync with the day.
- Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day.
- Light exercise, even just walking for 10 minutes a day, can improve sleep quality.
- Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.
Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual
- Take a bath, read a book, or watch boring television (skip the scary movies or frustrating news shows).
- Practice relaxation exercises. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down—and then putting them aside.
- Avoid bright screens with blue light within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. (Goodnight computer and cell phone.) Use E-readers that don’t have a blue light.
Don’t fall victim to the competitive “I only need 5 minutes a night” mentality. People who boast “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” aren’t doing themselves any favors (and possibly will die first). Your health shouldn’t be a contest.
The goal is to get back to your body’s natural rhythms. You want your body to be happy, right?
Sweet dreams, baby.