By Charles J. Abate, MD, FCCP | Sleep Medicine
Do you find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open during the day? Perhaps you are already on your third or fourth cup of coffee for the day? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of U.S. adults report that they do not get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night. If you are not getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, you are at risk for developing certain chronic diseases and conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Sleep is crucial to your overall health and wellbeing.
Here are six tips you can incorporate into your daily and nightly routine to help ensure you awake feeling rested and energized:
- Reduce blue light exposure: Put down the phone and stop watching TV at least one hour before you head to bed. Blue light has been shown to affect our circadian rhythm by tricking our brain into thinking it is still daytime. If you need to use your phone, install a mobile app or wear eyeglasses that can block blue light.
- Don’t eat or drink before bedtime: Avoid eating large meals, drinking caffeine or alcohol at least two hours before going to bed. If you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping, it’s best not to consume any caffeine after 3:00 p.m.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet: Cooler temperatures, around 70 degrees, are best for sleeping. Be sure your bedroom is kept dark and quiet to allow for a relaxing and calming environment conducive for a good night’s sleep.
- Be consistent with your sleep cycle: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. This will help you to maintain long-term sleep quality.
- Exercise: Going for a walk during the day or exercising at the gym can help you fall asleep more easily at night. However, be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime as this can cause you to have trouble falling asleep.
- Avoid daytime naps: Try to limit any daytime naps to short, power naps. Long or irregular napping can negatively affect your sleep quality at night.
If you feel you are still waking up tired and groggy each morning, consult your physician. It’s possible you could have a sleep disorder and your physician can help guide you to the appropriate specialist and treatment options.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention