Having trouble sleeping? You’re not the only one. According to this article by the Huffington Post, more than a third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that around 34.8 percent of Americans are getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. Why is this such a big deal? For starters, it’s extremely bad for your health – both your mental and physical well-being.
There’s a large body of evidence to support the fact that sleeping less than seven hours per night puts you at an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and early death. Coupled with the fact that there have been reported links between sleeplessness and bedtime anxiety, the evidence that sleep could be destroying a nation is very worrying indeed.
But what can we do about it? Below we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep every night.
By expending all of your energy during the day, you’re more likely to go to bed tired and sleep easier throughout the night. It will also help you to feel less sleepy during the day. It goes without saying that the more vigorous your exercise routine, the better sleep you will achieve, but it’s worth noting that even light exercise such as walking can have a marked effect, and is definitely better than no exercise at all.
Invest in a good mattress
Getting a good night’s rest is as much about the quality of sleep you’re getting as it is about the quantity. And to ensure that you’re sleeping well qualitatively, you’re going to want to eliminate any tossing and turning during the night. That all starts with a quality mattress. Considering that this is a product you’ll spend a third of your life lying on, you’re going to want it to be decent. A good starting point is to go for something that’s firm, regulates your body temperature and supports your spine to encourage good posture. This is a good example of a memory foam mattress that ticks all the right boxes. It’s worth to do your research, however, as this isn’t something you want to make a hurried decision on.
Watch your diet
What you eat and drink doesn’t just have an effect on your weight and physical state, but is also explicitly tied with your quality of sleep. What you eat is important but also when you eat. Avoid foods high in processed sugar and refined carbs and make sure you cut back on alcohol and nicotine, especially before bed. It’s also wise never to eat a big meal close to your bedtime – your body will take longer to digest the food and its likely to keep you up while it’s doing this.
Tailor your sleeping environment
Your bedroom should ideally just contain a bed, and that ought to be used for only sleep and sex. Anything unimportant should be moved into a different room of the house and this includes televisions, computers and anything else that might distract you while you’re trying to get to sleep. It’s important that you condition your brain to associate your room with only these two acts, so that when you retire for the night you know automatically that it’s time to get to sleep. It’s about getting your body into a habit, so as tough as it might be at first, it’s crucial that you ditch the bright screens and Netflix before bed, and go to sleep distraction-free.