I can bet that you hear “I wish I could sleep better” at least once a week from someone you know.  Maybe you are the person saying it.  According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), approximately 60 million Americans a year report experiencing insomnia.  So if you’re tossing and turning at night, you are not alone.

Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep but with how busy the average American is from 9 hours at the office to rushing the kids to after-school activities, sleep can be hard to come by.  Often times (I know this was true with me) as soon as you lay down in bed your mind starts going crazy with everything that you need to do the next day and as your mind is churning, it’s suddenly 2 AM and you can’t fall asleep.  This can become dangerous if it’s routine.  Lack of sleep can pose serious health risks such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, and poor cognitive function.

Getting better sleep is good for you and good for everyone around you.

7 Tips to Sleeping Better:

1. Don’t eat dinner right before bed

Try and eat dinner two to three hours before bedtime.  Dinner tends to be the largest meal of the day for most people and if you eat too close to bedtime, you may experience bloating and gastrointestinal reflux which will not help you fall asleep.  If you know you will be busy and won’t be home until late, plan ahead by bringing healthy snacks and eat something light when you finally get home.  I know every Tuesday and Friday I am not getting home until 8:30 PM because of Animal Humane Society shifts so I plan ahead by bringing a hearty lunch to work and have a snack ready for 4 PM.  This way I am not starving once I am finally home and I can settle for something simple like a bowl of Cheerios.

2. Hide your alarm clock

This one is important for two reasons: 1) if you can’t see the clock, you can’t keep checking it to see how many hours have gone by. 2) Hiding the clock eliminates harsh lighting preventing you from falling asleep.  My alarm clock is right next to my bed, the simple thing I do is just lean a book against it to hide it once I am ready for bed.

3. Turn off all artificial light

Related to the alarm clock issue, studies have shown that artificial light disturbs sleep, especially the blue light that emits from electronics like laptops and tablets.  There are actually many ways technology can affect your sleep.  Take a look at this article from The Sleep Judge for more information.

4. Prepare for the next day before bedtime

To help prevent our minds from running rampant as soon as we lie down, write down everything going through your head beforehand.  Make a list of what you need to accomplish the next day.  If there is anything you have to do right away in the morning, see if you can get a head start the night before so there is less to worry about.  For example, I lay out what I am wearing to work the next day and put my lunch together before I go to bed.  This way there are fewer things I need to do in the morning.

5. Don’t go to bed until you’re actually tired

If you know you need to sleep and try and force yourself to fall asleep early, sometimes the opposite can happen.  The anxiety of not being able to fall asleep can contribute to insomnia.  So, if you are lying in bed and can’t fall asleep, open a book or go watch some television until you do get tired.  Don’t lie there tossing and turning.

6. Adjust the thermostat

Experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend thinking of your bedroom as a cave: cool, dark, and quiet.  Drop the thermostat a few degrees for bedtime – your body will thank you!

7. Set a schedule

Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.  Disrupting your schedule resets your internal clock and may lead to insomnia.  It also makes it more difficult wake up early once the weekend is over.

I used to struggle falling asleep, and prepping for the next day before bed and hiding my clock are the two things that really helped me.  If you wish you could sleep better, hopefully these tips can help you too!  Getting the right amount of sleep is important in staying healthy and we all know the benefits to staying healthy are plenty!  The healthier you are, the cheaper your life insurance will be too; however, even if you do have a sleep disorder we can still help you get the insurance you need to protect your family.  Check out our term life insurance quote tool for an estimate on how little a life insurance policy would cost.  You do not need to give away any personal information to see a price.  We’re here to help you protect what you love most.

 

Photo credit to: Sadık Kuzu

 

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Best Methods for Practicing Self-Care

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