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10 Steps to Better Sleep

10 Steps to Better Sleep

Finding yourself drifting off at your desk, yawning in meetings or having difficulty focusing at work? You might not be getting enough sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems. Although most adults require at least 7 hours of sleep per night, many do not meet this essential goal on a regular basis.

Lack of sleep can have major consequences on your mood and productivity as work, and even life-threatening dangerous implications for commuters or individuals operating vehicles or heavy machinery. Lack of sleep has also been linked to the emergence and worsening of many chronic health problems, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

How can you get better sleep to perform better at work and in life? Here are the 10 steps you can take.

1. Minimize Distractions

Ban TVs and computers from the bedroom. TVs and computers emit blue light that trick the body into believing it’s daytime, making falling asleep more difficult. They are also distracting and might keep you awake even when you’re feeling tired.

2. Avoid Caffeine

Steer clear of caffeine in beverages and food for six to eight hours before bedtime.

3. Minimize Alcohol Consumption

Drinking may help you feel drowsy, but it has been shown to disrupt sleeping patterns and create a lower quality, less restorative night’s rest. Don’t have alcohol close to bedtime— it can wake you up three to four hours later. (A drink with dinner is OK.)

4. Develop a Routine

Pick a bedtime and a wake time and stick with them from night to night. Signal to your body that it’s time for bed taking a shower or bath, playing soft music, doing light reading or eating a small snack.

5. Establish a Bedtime

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” may sound inspiring, but sleep should be a top priority. Designate seven to eight hours in your daily schedule for sleep.

6. Create a Safe Space

Optimize your bedroom for a good night’s sleep by keeping your bedroom comfortable, dark and quiet. Clean bedding, cool temperatures and serene quiet can make a big difference in helping you fall asleep.

7. Use Your Bed Exclusively for Sleep

Just because you are in bed doesn’t mean that you’re asleep. Many people use their beds as a comfortable place for lounging, browsing the internet on their laptops and scrolling through social media on their phones. Reserve your bedroom exclusively for sleeping and sex. This will help you associate your bed with sleep.

8. Power Down the Electronics

Twenty to 30 minutes before bedtime dim your lights and switch off electronics. Like TVs and computers, cell phones and tablets emit blue light, tricking your body into believing it’s daytime.

9. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Try relaxation exercises at bedtime if you need to unwind before hitting the hay. Some activities that can help you fall asleep include yoga, deep breathing or guided meditation.

10. Avoid Lying in Bed Awake

Few things feel worse than lying in bed for hours trying to sleep. If you don’t fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed, leave the bedroom and try some of your calming before-bed activities again.

Could You Have a Sleep Disorder?

Everyone has trouble sleeping from time-to-time, but if daytime sleepiness regularly interferes with daily activities, you might have a sleep disorder. Common sleep disorders, like insomnia and sleep apnea, can have a negative impact on your health. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer, you likely have insomnia. Sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, can be more difficult to identify. If you snore loudly and find yourself feeling tired all time despite getting an adequate amount of sleep every night, you might have sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

Do any of the symptoms above sound familiar?

Take a step toward better sleep. Find a sleep expert near you and schedule a consultation.