Here are some helpful suggestions for increasing the quality and quantity of your sleep:
Set a regular bedtime. Try to hit the sack at the same time every night to be sure you’re getting enough sleep. We recommend seven to eight hours for adults — any longer can actually be harmful, studies show. Have trouble getting to bed on time? Move up your bedtime by 15 minutes each week until you reach the right time for lights out.
Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Not only do we tend to stay on social media sites or the Internet past our bedtimes, electronics also emit blue light that throws our biological clocks out of rhythm. Make it a goal to put down your phone or tablet two hours before bedtime to reduce your risk for diseases that can be influenced by lack of sleep, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Exercise daily, preferably hours before bedtime. Our experts want you to aim for 10,000 steps each day to reduce your risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Schedule your workout for first thing in the morning or just after work to get the greatest benefits without interfering with your sleep. Aim for finishing your workout two hours before bedtime to allow your body time to get over your pumped-up “runner’s high” so you can slip into restful sleep at bedtime.
Read, meditate or wind down before attempting to count sheep. Train your body to relax at bedtime and it will follow your lead. End your bedtime routine with a nightly dose of an activity that calms your body and mind and you’ll begin to sleep more soundly. Try 4-7-8 breathing: Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven and exhale for a count of eight. Repeat this exercise to reduce your heart rate and take your mind off the business of your day.
Commit yourself to better sleep habits and reap the rewards in your health and daily life. Talk to your doctor about ways to improve your sleep, including counseling, a sleep study and other lifestyle changes that can help you get the sleep you dream of.