Three Ways Everybody Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Besides food, sleep is one of the things our body needs in order to be healthy. Ideally, according to the Mayo Clinic, adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Teenagers should get eight to 10 hours, and children from six to 13 years should rest nine to 11.
The thing is, we’re not getting what we need. We’re in an era of too much caffeine, busy work until all hours of the night, and smartphones, tablets, and laptops that keep our brains running and our eyeballs darting late into the evening. Our bodies are demanding “sleep,” but we instead want to watch our favorite late-night talk show host, are busy messaging friends, or are answering work emails about issues that can wait until the next day.
For adults, getting the right amount of sleep each night leads to more productive days. For children, a night of quality sleep helps boost their energy levels and helps them stay focused at school. To get the sleep all of you need, follow these three tips.
- Switch ‘Em Off
Our smartphones, tablets, and laptops can help us be more productive at work and school during the day, but at night, they end up being a distraction. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, the blue light from the screens of our devices is disruptive to sleepbecause it prevents the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences our circadian rhythm. Switch off all devices about three hours before bedtime. This includes lights, too. Energy-efficient lighting emits the same kind of blue light, so at night, use only lights that have standard light bulbs, or light candles. Just remember to put them out before you go to bed.
- Cool It Down
If you’ve ever been on a camping trip during the summer or have slept in a house with no air conditioning, you know how hard it is to get to sleep and stay asleep when it’s hot. Even during the winter, if the heat’s up too high, you’ll have the same problem if the bedroom becomes stuffy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a room temperature of about 65 degrees is best for sleep, because your body temperature drops as you become drowsy. During the winter months, it’s easy to set your home’s thermostat to 65 degrees (or lower) to get that ideal room temperature, but it’s difficult during the summer. Instead of running the central air all night at a low temperature, consider putting a small window unitin each bedroom. You can turn them off when everybody wakes up, then switch them on when it’s bedtime.
- Pour ‘Em Out
With coffee shops on nearly every corner in nearly every city (there were more than 34,000in the U.S. in 2017), we’re always just minutes away from a caffeinated beverage when we’re out running errands or shopping. Similarly, our refrigerators are often loaded with energy-boosting soft drinks and sports beverages. Too much caffeine in our bodies can keep us wired through the night. Generally, you should stop drinking any kind of caffeinated beverage six hours before your bedtime. Make it a rule in your household to pour out any remaining coffee or soft drinks after dinner. If you need to drink something cold and fizzy later on, try a flavored sparkling water. If you want a hot beverage, try hot herbal tea.
If you improve the amount of sleep you get but still find yourself dragging, there are a few other activities you can put into practice during the day to help boost your energy: stay hydrated, eat a colorful mix of fruits and veggies, and add exercise to your routine, which offers the bonus benefit of helping you sleep at night. Remember, sleep is an important component in keeping us healthy. By limiting your screen time, lowering your bedroom’s temperature, and stopping caffeine intake early in the day, you can be sure to get the right amount that you need.