Sleep is important for your physical and emotional health. Sleep helps to keep your immune system strong. It also can help your mood and make you feel less stressed. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and depression. Getting the proper amount of sleep is an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention. You need a good night's rest.
Here are some tips to help you get the sleep you need:
1. Try to get the recommended amount of sleep. This important for both you and your family. It's no fun when one member is cranky and ruins the day for the rest of you. Be sure to make up any sleep shortcomings, because it will catch up to you.
Sleep Recommendations from The National Sleep Foundation
birth – 2 mo. old = 12 – 18 hours
3 – 11 mo. old = 14-15 hours
Toddlers / Children
1 – 3 yrs. old = 12 – 14 hours
3 – 5 yrs. old = 11 – 13 hours
5 – 10 yrs. old = 10 – 11 hours
10-17 yrs. old = 8.5 to 9.5 hours
18+ yrs. old = 7 – 9 hours
2. Set the mood. Get rid of distracting items that distracts from sleep, and reminds you of the everyday stress and worries. Put the TV, computer, office desk, and treadmill away from the rest area. Replace with calming colors, sights and sounds.
3. Choose your surrounding wisely. Be sure that you are in a quiet and dark place so that you are undisturbed, and at peace. Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that naturally promotes sleep. Use a sleep mask and ear plugs if light and noise bother you.
4. Start to wind down from activities prior to bed time. Be sure that there is nothing that is left undone that should not wait until morning. It is bad when you have to get up to do something you should have done earlier.
5. Do not drink caffeine beverages after 2 pm Give energy boosting drinks time to wear-off before evening. Tea and coffee is okay, if decaffeinated.
6. Do not exercise within 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. Exercise increases blood flow, and gives you energy. It may be harder to fall sleep.
7. Do not take a nap close to bedtime. Naps are to help you feel rested. If you take a nap, you probably will not be in the mood to sleep so soon afterwards.
8. If you like wine, it is best with dinner rather than late at night. If you drink late at night, it will give you a restless night's sleep.
9. Do not take a hot bath prior to sleep. Your body needs to have time to cool down in order to sleep. Your body temperature naturally goes down prior sleep, so it will take longer to get there.
10. Turn thermostat down. Since your body temperature naturally goes down at night, the lower temperature will help your body reach the desired temperature to sleep. A good temperature is under 70 degrees F.
11. De-stress. Keep a To-Do list. Check off the things completed, and make a new one for the next day. This will clear your mind so that you can rest. Try yoga to put your mind at ease, steady your breath, and reduce muscle tension without revving up your heart.
12. Dress comfortably. Do not wear heavy or binding clothes so you do not overheat. It is better to wear light and comfortable clothes, and have bedding that can be layered and taken off quickly if needed. Take time to try some of these tips. You may find that your mood and outlook on life will be revived. Rest is important, and you will feel better for it. Have a good night.