Americans may be one of the most sleep deprived nation on earth. It is estimated that 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia which costs up to $18 Billion dollars to employers due to lost productivity. Most adults should get about 8 hours of sleep per night but 29% of Americans report getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
Lack of sleep effects our mood, our productivity, our ability to concentrate just to name a few results of less than adequate sleep.
So what can you do if sleep is elusive to you? Improving your sleep, both the quality and quantity, requires you to improve your “sleep hygiene” What the heck is that? Sleep hygiene is the routine you follow during the day up to and including the things you do once you get into bed.
I have suffered from sleep issues since my late 20’s. Here are some things that help me get better sleep.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help improve your sleep.
- Don’t do these things as they interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep:
- Don’t drink caffeinated beverages after 12 noon. It takes your body 8 to 10 hours to fully process the stimulating effects of caffeine. This includes coffee, tea, colas and many energy drinks.
- Don’t exercise heavily within 2 hours of bedtime. Morning and afternoon aerobics, spin class, etc. are great. Doing them before bed has a stimulating effect.
- Don’t stay on your phone, iPad, computer or watch TV right before bed. The blue light on the screens effects your body’s ability to detect the normal day/night cycle and your sleep hormones.
Don’t work in bed. Read something enjoyable before sleep – not the report from your office.
DO these things before bed:
- Write down everything you are worrying, ruminating or obsessing about from today or tomorrow. Writing them down allows you to let go of these things that can turn into the hamster on the wheel that keeps you thinking instead of sleeping.
- Start a gratitude journal and write down 5 things you are thankful for that happened today. This puts you in a more positive state of mind to fall asleep.
- Create your positive sleep thoughts:
- I fall asleep easily and stay asleep through the night.
- I sleep peacefully all night and awake fully refreshed to begin my day.
- My sleep is restful and allows me to have a good day.
- Make sure your bedroom is DARK. Have curtains or shades that black out the light from outside. Turn down the light on your clock.
- Before you get into bed. Bend over, let your head and arms hang loosely and breathe deeply for 10 to 15 breaths.
- Sweet Dreams!!
Let me know how these tips work for you.
Here are a couple of books on sleep if you want to know more:
- Stop Losing Sleep: Establish Healthy Sleep Patterns to Improve your Health and Energy, Jun 17, 2014, by Kyle Richards
- The Effortless Sleep Method: The Incredible New Cure for Insomnia and Chronic Sleep Problems, Jan 31, 2011, by Sasha Stephens