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12.06.2010 / Catching Your ZZZs

With crazy schedules caused by school, activities and now the holidays, it can be harder than ever to get enough sleep this time of year. But sleep is more important than many people realize.

Studies show the lack of sleep can lead to health problems ranging from obesity to hypertension, cardiovascular problems and diabetes (according to the National Sleep Foundation). Plus, sleeplessness can diminish your overall ability to handle stress and perform basic functions – like driving, working and balancing the checkbook.*

So what can you do to make sure you’re getting the full seven to nine hours a night that experts recommend? Follow these tips from the National Sleep Foundation and the American Sleep Association:

  • Make it routine. Go to bed and get up about the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Set the mood. A quite, dark, cool room is best for sleep. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow. Then create a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as taking a warm bath, reading or listening to soothing music.
  • Put down the smart phone. Removing distractions such as computers, televisions, work papers and, yes that ever present mobile device from the bedroom can help you doze.
  • Avoid stimulants. Exercise, nicotine, caffeine and even alcohol too close to bedtime can interfere with deep, restorative sleep.
  • Write it down. If your to-do list, calendar or other worries are keeping you up, place a journal and a pen by your bedside. When you can’t sleep, write down your anxieties to get them out of your head.
  • Get up. If you awake too early and can’t fall back asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and leave the bedroom. Do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to music. When you start feeling sleepy head back to bed.
  • Seek help. Healthcare professionals have identified more than 70 sleep disorders, and most can be effectively managed. So if you have ongoing issues with sleeplessness, schedule an appointment with your doctor or a sleep specialist.

* Based on information collected from the American Sleep Association.

Do you have any good tips or resources on getting more ZZZs at night?  Please share them.

Posted at 02:16 PM | Permalink
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