Raise your hand if you’re tired right now. OK, now raise your hand if you’ve been tired at least a few afternoons this week. Unfortunately, I bet every single one of you lovely readers raised your hand for at least one of those – according to the CDC, one third of Americans are chronically sleep deprived, regularly clocking in at fewer than 7 hours a night. The number of people who experience occasional and/or recurrent sleep deprivation is even higher – studies show that nearly everyone experiences occasional sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can lead to a slew of problems: from reduced concentration, lowered immunity, irritability, and low productivity in the short term to the increased risk of heart disease, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, dementia, and much more over the long term.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to help you sleep more and sleep better! Next week is Sleep Awareness Week, so we want to encourage you to try these tips next week to see how you feel! If you find yourself more rested, you can work them into your regular routine.
Tip #1: Keep it cool
Sleep experts suggest keeping your room cooler at night to promote deep sleep – around 65-67 degrees should be the ticket!
Tip #2: Use shades
Keep your sleep space as dark as possible through the use of blackout curtains on your windows or other heavy curtains.
Tip #3: Reduce outside noise
You are the most restful when your brain isn’t trying to keep track of ambient noise. To improve your sleep, try reducing the noises in your living space that you can, or try using ear plugs or a white noise machine.
Tip #4: Ban devices from bedtime
I know it can be difficult to avoid a last minute phone check or one last Netflix episode before bed, but this can be a game-changer when it comes to healthy sleep. The blue light emitted by phone, tablet, computer, and TV screens mimics daylight, suppressing melatonin (your sleepy brain chemical) production. It’s best to put away your devices about an hour before bedtime, but if you can’t manage that, there are apps and settings on many devices to reduce their blue-light emission at night.
Tip #5: Get Fluffy or Fido a pet bed
As wonderful as it is to snuggle with pets, studies show that when pets sleep on the bed, their owners get significantly less deep sleep. If they’re disturbing your sleep, you may want to consider how to make your dog(s) and/or cat(s) comfortable in their own pet bed.