Experts have always said that adults should be getting 7-8 hours per sleep per night. Now, experts are saying 8-9 hours is what you’re shooting for. Losing sleep means losing years off your life. Well, at least it will look like it. Studies have shown that lack of sleep ages you more quickly, along with other poor habits like smoking, drinking, and bad eating habits, all of which are controllable factors in your life.
Here are a few tips to getting a solid night’s sleep starting now:
Set an alarm for sleeping.
If you’re a night owl who keeps looking at the clock, thinking ten more minutes, actually set an alarm for about fifteen minutes before your goal bedtime. So, when your alarm dings at 9:45, you know you have about fifteen minutes to get into bed. Keep in mind that it takes most people around thirty minutes to fall asleep, so factor that into your bedtime. Remember that going to bed even twenty minutes sooner will add up over the course of the week. A few extra hours at the end of the week goes a long way.
Get a Device
This sounds counterintuitive, but how about a white noise machine? How about a ocean sounds? How about a humidifier? If you have sleep apnea, you definitely need a sleep aid. Check out The CPAP Shop for amazing sleep aids for people with sleep apnea. If you’re into white noise and your partner can tolerate it, check out a Homedics Sound Spa from Target.
Relax your muscles.
Like a baby, this will relax your muscles. For some, stretching is another way to relax. Once you get into bed, do this exercise: beginning with your toes, tense every single muscle in your body one at a time. Hold for five seconds and let go. Concentrating on your muscles will relax your mind and the contracting will relax your body. Avoid doing exercise at night, if possible, eating too late, or doing last minute chores. You’ll be too keyed up to fall asleep.
Do a litany.
We all know the feeling of being exhausted, but being unable to turn off the brain. For some people, this translates to prayer. Instead of thinking about your day, and what’s going on the next day, or worrying about your children, or your finances, devote the time right before sleep to listing all of the things you are grateful for.
There is no better way to tire your eyes. Watching TV or playing on the iPad will inhibit sleep. Any “blue light” is a bad idea. Read an actual book, or a Kindle, which does not have a screen that refreshes, meaning no blue light, either.
Getting uninterrupted sleep is critical.
For many, this is worse than going to bed late. A FitBitcan tell you how much actual sleep you are getting, but you’ll need to determine a cause to your waking up and address it. If it’s children, begin teaching them to stay in bed rather than just rolling over and allowing them to kick you in the middle of the night. If it’s a bathroom run, avoid water at night. If it’s a sore neck, try a better pillow.