Sufficient Sleep: 8 Tips for Better Health
Sleep experts agree that most adults need seven to eight hours for sufficient sleep every night. Yet, more than one-third of adults sleep less than seven hours every night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can raise your risk for obesity. It will also mess up your body’s hormones that control whether you feel full or hungry.
Researchers have found an association between not getting enough sleep and an increased risk for several chronic diseases and conditions. Aside from obesity, running short on sleep can increase your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and depression.
Here are eight tips from health authorities National Institutes of Health to help you get sufficient sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour. Staying up late and sleeping in late on weekends disrupts your body clock’s sleep–wake rhythm.
- Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light. Turn off the TV and laptop. The light from your electronics may signal the brain that it’s time to be awake.
- Avoid big meals within a couple hours of bedtime. Don’t drink alcohol before bed. You might feel sleepy at first but wake up in the middle of the night.
- Avoid nicotine and caffeine, including chocolate. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants. Both substances can interfere with sleep. The effects of caffeine can last eight hours. A cup of coffee in the late afternoon might sound good, but it could make it hard for you to fall asleep at night.
- Spend time outside every day. Be physically active.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark.
- Take a hot bath.
- Use relaxation techniques before bed.