Easy Ways to Catch More Zzz’s

By Amy Lee; First Year Project Manager

Did you know that if you sleep eight hours per day on average, you are sleeping for one-third of your life? Sleep is definitely a huge portion in our lives and it’s more than just resting. Proper sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. It can enhance your brain function, emotional well-being, and physical health by decreasing the risk of diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults 18-64 years old. However, it can be difficult to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, so here are some tips to fall asleep faster to maximize your time in bed!

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Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Sticking to a sleep routine can help our bodies stabilize a circadian rhythm. A regular circadian rhythm will have an effect on your body temperature, metabolism, the level of sleepiness, and immune system. Thus, you can have deeper sleep during the night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. Remember, consistency is key.

Limit heavy meals and drinks close to bedtime.

Any large meals or spicy food near bedtime can cause indigestion and possibly acid reflux.  Alcohol before bed can induce drowsiness, but it can also disrupt sleep patterns and cause you to wake up earlier from lack of deep sleep.

Avoid using electronics before bed.

Light is a strong cue that can reset the time of our circadian rhythms. Electronics such as computers and phones emit short wavelengths that affect melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. This light suppresses melatonin, causing us to be more alert and take longer to fall asleep.

Wear socks to bed.

Research suggests that wearing socks to bed allows for vasodilation in your feet. This triggers the brain to distribute heat throughout the rest of the body to prepare for sleep. However, if you can’t fall asleep with socks on, try layering extra blankets on your feet or place a warm water bottle near your feet.

References: 

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need/page/0/2

https://sleep.org/articles/wearing-socks-to-bed/

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips/page/0/

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/how-blue-light-affects-kids-sleep

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep

Images: 

https://findingmastery.net/pat-byrne/

https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-lifestyle/20-mind-blowing-facts-about-sleep/

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