Do You Get Enough Sleep?

 

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Getting a good night’s is important for a number of reasons.  According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, chronic sleep loss can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a weakening of the immune system. On the other hand, good sleeping habits boost the ability to learn and remember things, keep weight in check, keep an upbeat attitude, maintain cardiovascular health, fight off disease, and avoid accidents caused by drowsiness. If you struggle with getting quality sleep, the following tips can help you develop healthy sleep habits.

Go to bed at the same time every night. 
Create a routine that you and your body become accustomed to. Make sure to get enough sleep, but not too much sleep. The National Sleep Foundations says the “right” amount of sleep is based on the individual and his or her age. Aim some where between seven and eight hours of quality sleep.

Wake up at the same time every morning. 
Waking up at the same time each day not only assures you don’t oversleep it also enables your body to get into a rhythm. Lots of studies have shown that longstanding routine, as well as adequate sleep, has been linked to longevity.

Nap if you go off schedule. 
Travel, deadlines, worries, and all kinds of other routine interruptions can put a damper on your sleep schedule. But rather than try to make up lost time by sleeping in, it’s better to take a midday nap when you can. Otherwise, you will throw off your new routine.

Don’t drink caffeine in the evening.
The drink that gets you going in the morning is also the one that will keep you up at night—if you drink it too late in the day. Know your limits and avoid caffeine too close to bedtime.

Don’t use technology in your bedroom. 
Your TV, smartphone, and computer are all gadgets that get your mind buzzing, not relaxing. In order to calm yourself down, it’s a good idea to keep all distractions out of sight.Your bedroom should only have items conducive to sleep.

Darkness.
Your body is designed to take sleep in darkness. Use thick curtains or shades, cover or hide the clock, and help your brain power down for the night.

A white noise machine. 
Some noises are soothing, such as the sound of the ocean or the whisper of the wind. But other noises—like loud neighbors or honking cars—can keep you from getting the sleep you need. Luckily, there are plenty of noise machines on the market that offer a variety of “white noise” options. Even a fan can help drown out unwanted noise.

Eat at least 3 hours before bedtime. 
Big meals right before bedtime force your body to digest rather than rest, while especially rich or spicy meals may cause sleep-depriving discomfort as they make their way through your stomach. Eat light and on the early side and you’ll ensure your food won’t keep you up.

Avoid alcohol before bed. 
Alcohol can make you drowsy and even help you fall asleep. But it also tends to wake you up in the middle of the night, disturbing the overall quality of your sleep. Steer clear of adult beverages, to increase your chances of quality sleep.

A comfortable bed. 
A quality mattress and bedding is well worth the sometimes hefty price.  But consider them a preventative medical expense. A good mattress and comfy sheets and pillows help ensure you get the sleep your body needs to stay healthy

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