5 Tips for Better Sleep and Improved Health

05.09.2017

Don’t underestimate a good night’s sleep

Too little sleep can negatively affect your health—in many ways. Studies link insufficient sleep to health problems like obesity, heart disease, heart attacks, and diabetes. Not getting enough sleep can also affect your mood and impair your ability to think … not to mention put a damper on your love life.  

But getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep is a low priority with today’s hectic schedules. Since May is Better Sleep Month, make it your goal to focus on better sleep with these tips:   

Lace up for a walk

Studies show that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise—like brisk walking—helped people with chronic insomnia fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. There are many other benefits of walking, so there’s no better time to make it a priority. 

Start saving for a new mattress

Seriously, they don’t last forever. Does your mattress show visible signs of overuse? Do you sleep soundly in hotels but not at home? Wake with aches and pains? If yes, it’s time to go shopping—your mattress probably needs an upgrade.

Realize nightcaps aren’t your friend

Yes, they make you feel warm and cozy. Yes, you probably fall asleep faster. But it’s all a guise: alcohol contributes to poor quality of sleep. It blocks REM sleep, makes you more prone to sleep apnea, and leads to nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Climb into bed sans phone

There’s a scientific reason why you shouldn’t be looking at electronics in the hours before going to sleep. The blue light emitted affects your levels of melatonin, so you take longer to fall asleep and experience less REM sleep. Time to go old school and pick up a real book. Yes, they still make them. 

Write down your woes

Are you kept awake by worries when all you want to do is sleep? One study found journaling reduced bedtime worry, improved sleep quality, and increased sleep time. Try keeping a bedside journal and writing down your worries to turn off your brain and sleep better.

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