Sleep…that one thing that we’re all trying to get a little bit more of. That is on of the reasons why Better Sleep Month was created, to encourage people not only to get more sleep, but refreshing sleep. May was deemed Better Sleep Month by the Better Sleep Council to raise awareness of the benefits of better sleep, as well as to bring attention to how inadequate sleep can affect one’s life. Sleep is just as important to one’s physical, emotional, and mental health as their diet and exercise.
Consequences of Getting Poor Sleep
Getting poor sleep can have drastic consequences, including a reduced ability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, stress, and even a weakened immune system. With an increase in stress, the body can release extra stress hormones, which make it even more difficult to sleep! This creates a very unhealthy sleep cycle for the individual and ends in even more lost sleep.
What Causes Poor Sleep?
Stress is a huge cause of losing sleep in adults. Worry about family conflicts, personal relationships, schedules, your children, and even financial concerns can be a reason for lost sleep.
There are also many physical factors that play a role in preventing a person from getting adequate sleep. Many of these may include: pain, excessive sweating, noise, needing to urinate etc. All of these can prevent a person from getting a restful night’s sleep.
How much Sleep Is Enough?
Although experts often say that 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night is optimal, many are now arguing that quality of sleep is much more important that quantity. A good way to remember this is that getting better sleep is considered to be more quality sleep. A person who is getting only 6.5 hours of refreshing sleep per night is getting sleep more beneficial than someone getting 8 hours of lighter, interrupted sleep.
How Can I Get Better Sleep?
Often, it is easy to make small lifestyle adjustments to get better sleep. The purpose of Better Sleep Month is to get people to evaluate their habits and see if any of these habits are causing them to get less than adequate amounts of sleep.
The following suggestions may help you achieve more quality sleep:
- Develop a sleep ritual
- This means doing the same routine every night before bed
- Unwind early in the evening so that worries and stress do not keep you from getting a good night’s rest
- Avoid eating right before bed to avoid acid reflux at night
- Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine late in the day
- Create a restful sleep environment
- sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room
- Keep all electronics, including phones, out of the bedroom
- Avoid alcohol at least 4 hours before sleep
- Alcohol first makes you sleep, but then it is a stimulant, so it can keep you up at night
Try making these changes for Better Sleep Month and see if you find yourself resting more peacefully and waking up more easily! And let us know how your sleep changes go! Here’s to more restful sleep for everyone!
**If you adjust your sleeping habits and are sleeping enough and still find that you are tired during the day, talk to your doctor, as you may have a medical condition that is interfering with your sleep.