Posted July 14, 2017
If you have problems sleeping, you’re not alone. About 84 million American adults don’t get enough sleep, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 35 percent of adults get less than seven hours of sleep. This is the minimum needed to function well during the day and avoid the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
Often the problem is that people’s brains are busy and can’t shut off at night. If you find yourself waking up at night, try these tips for better shut-eye.
- Keep feet warm – Before climbing in bed, slip a pair of socks on your feet to help you fall asleep faster.
- Block out light – Sleeping in a quiet, cool, dark room allows your body to relax.
- Exercise daily – Making time for physical activity each day, even for a few minutes, reduces stress and encourages restful sleep.
- Minimize naps – A nap during the day can renew energy and refreshes the brain. However, avoid sleeping more than 30 minutes or napping close to bedtime.
- Relax with yoga – Before bedtime, spend time doing some relaxing yoga exercises to slow down breathing, heart rate, and brain activity.
- Get some sun – Exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning wakes up your brain and body and promotes alertness throughout the day.
- Set a bedtime alarm – Most people use an alarm clock to wake them up in the morning, but it’s just as important to schedule a regular time to go to bed.
Getting back to sleep
If you wake up during the night and struggle to fall back asleep, experts at Integrated Sleep Health in Australia caution people to avoid doing activities that could wake up the brain.
- No TV or movies (no news or social media either)
- No digital devices (especially your cell phone)
- No snacking (or smoking)
- No beverages with caffeine or alcohol
Instead get up and read a few pages from a soothing story to relax your mind, do some deep breathing or unwind with a little yoga meditation.