If you’re the typical American, you don’t get a full eight hours of sleep each night. Either you stay up too late watching your favorite television shows (again) or have to wake so early in the morning for your daily commute that getting a full eight hours of sleep seems like a distant fantasy.
Still, no matter how sleep-deprived you are, or how busy your schedule, there are things you can do to make sure you get more and better sleep. They include:
Find ways to cope with stress
If you’ve ever laid awake at night worrying about, well, everything, you know how stress can eat away at your sleep. It’s not just in your head, either; cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone,” is known to make it harder to fall asleep (plus leads to other problems like weight gain, digestive problems and even cardiovascular disease.)
What’s more, a vicious cycle is at play, since the less sleep you get, the worse and more stressed you end up feeling. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Adults who regularly get eight hours of sleep feel less stressed and less overwhelmed compared to those who sleep less, according to one study from the American Psychological Association.
Other ways to get your stress under control include exercising, eating right, and making time for quiet activities like reading, meditation, or yoga. Another good tip is to get the worries in your head on paper by journaling for a few minutes before bed.
Eat light at night
Studies suggest that eating food rich in saturated fat can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm and make it harder for you to fall asleep. If your stomach starts rumbling before bedtime, try healthy foods that promote sleep, like walnuts or Greek yogurt. Still, try not to go too overboard, even with health foods – eating too much of anything within a few hours of bedtime can suppress your body’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin.
Go easy on the alcohol
A lot of people swear by a nightcap, because alcohol makes you feel drowsy and can help you fall asleep. But alcohol’s sleep-inducing properties are only temporary: too much alcohol tends to result in lighter, more fragmented sleep that will leave you feeling worse for wear in the morning. Cut off your alcohol consumption 4-6 hours before bedtime. This will give it enough time to clear your system before you need to go to bed.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.