Wellness Report: Secrets to Great Sleep

Are you tired and groggy in the mornings? Like most Americans, you're probably not getting enough sleep. The good news is there are solutions to helping you sneak in more sleep.

Nearly eight in ten Americans say they would feel better and more prepared for the day if they had just one more hour of sleep. Getting that bit of extra rest may seem impossible to you as you stumble out of bed every morning, but there are some easy ways you can get more sleep today!

Try to keep the following sleep practices consistently:

Your Mattress Matters
If your mattress is seven years or older, it's probably time to replace it. Older mattresses do not provide the support you need for restful sleep. Making this one improvement can unlock nights of blissful sleep. Your pillows should also be replaced regularly once a year to make sure you are getting proper support for your neck and spine.

Watch What and When You Eat 
What and when you’re eating and drinking affects your sleep. Try to finish eating two to three hours before bedtime, so your whole system is ready to relax. Drink alcohol in the early evening instead of right before bed and make caffeine a morning-only drink.

**Nighttime snacks map help

For some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. If you need a bedtime snack, try:

  • Half of a turkey sandwich
  • A small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal
  • Milk or yogurt
  • A banana

Take a Nap
Taking a nap might seem counter-intuitive to good nighttime sleep, but short naps of 10 to 30 minutes actually help you gain extra energy during the day and don’t disrupt your sleep. Even a 10-minute nap can improve your alertness for 2-and-a-half hours if you’re sleep-deprived, and you can feel the benefit for up to 4 hours if you are well-rested.

Quit Worrying
If you’re bringing the stress of your job and daily life to bed with you, you’re not going to sleep well. Try not to bring work materials, your phone or even allow yourself to think about work while in your bedroom. Try journaling! Write about the things that are bothering you so you can work through them instead of bringing them to bed with you!

Relax
Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep. Try deep breathing. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.

You can make 8 hours of quality sleep a regular part of your life by scheduling it. Make sleep part of your to-do list and plan your bedtime like you would any other appointment. You wouldn't miss a meeting to binge-watch TV, would you? Be strict about your sleep appointment in the same way. Keep a consistent schedule for sleep and wake times, and soon they will become just a part of your routine.

By following these five steps on how to sleep better, you will put yourself on the road to quality rest and greater health!

What is one thing you can change or add to your routine to improve your quality of sleep? Share with us in the comments below!

Join the National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week, March 10th to 16th, 2019. This year’s theme “Begin with Sleep” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals.

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