The Forgotten Health Habit
Excess stress can easily lead to a night of tossing and turning. Likewise, poor sleep habits can lead to increased anxiety. An often-ignored health habit, getting enough sleep is just as crucial to optimal health as regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet. Too little sleep has negative impacts on hormonal health, brain function, and weight. For improved sleep and reduced stress, try these 4 practical tips.
1. Set screen time limits
The adage used to be that a television in the bedroom was disruptive to sleep. Today, however, the small screens that get carried around all the time are just as harmful to circadian rhythms. Smartphones and tablets emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin production. This makes getting to sleep more difficult. Many electronics also have an option for blocking blue light within certain hours. This function can be helpful. For best rest, turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime.
2. Do some mental math
For many people, the most significant barrier to getting enough sleep is not getting to bed early enough. Most adults function best when getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Consider if bedtime is early enough to ensure a full 7 hours. If not, calculate what bedtime and wake-up times would allow for at least this amount. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
3. Curb the caffeine
Caffeine can have health benefits, including improved focus, energy, and athletic performance. However, consuming caffeine close to bedtime can have adverse effects on sleep. Additionally, too much of the ingredient can increase anxiety and stress. In one study, caffeine disrupted sleep cycles when consumed within 6 hours of bedtime.
4. Consider a supplement
Many people take a melatonin supplement to improve sleep quality. But some other natural remedies can also be helpful. Ginkgo biloba has been linked to stress reduction, relaxation, and improved sleep. Some studies have suggested that valerian root can help people fall asleep more easily. A powerful herb with a very calming effect, lavender can help people feel calmer and sleep easier.
Sleep better tonight
Skimping on sleep can lead to crankiness, difficulty concentrating, and an increased risk of certain diseases. Many people can benefit from making some habit changes to improve sleep quality and quantity. For more information on getting a better night’s sleep, speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist about lifestyle changes and supplement options.