The arrival of daylight savings time – and the loss of one hour of sleep – brings our sleep patterns to the forefront every year. As a result, March is National Sleep Awareness Month, with Sleep Awareness Week scheduled for March 14-20. The event, put on by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), works to promote better sleep habits. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 7 hours of sleep for adults over the age of 18.
According to the NSF, “Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases.”
Here’s a few easy tips to get those zzz’s in:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
Set a bedtime that allows you to get at least 7 hours of sleep and lets you wake up on time. Following a consistent sleep schedule also helps train your brain to naturally feel tired when it is time to sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine.
A bedtime routine helps our brain recognize when it is time to sleep. By doing the same thing every night, you let your body know it is time to wind down. Harvard Health says mindful meditation in your bedtime routine is another way to help you fight insomnia and improve your sleep. You can find free guided mindfulnes meditation videos on our YouTube here. Give one a try before bed.
- Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment.
- Lighting is a key factor in getting a good night’s sleep. Try to make your bedroom as dark as possible to reinforce a healthy circadian rhythm as it regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Keep tech devices like computers, TVs and smartphones out of the bedroom because the blue light they produce can also disrupt sleep by suppressing your natural production of melatonin.
- Sound is also important for a good night’s sleep. External noise can cause frequent awakenings. If it is something that is out of your control, there are tools that can help you block out sound such as white noise machines and sleep aide mobile apps.
- Room temperature should also be comfortable, usually between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over or under may cause it to be uncomfortable for you to fall asleep.
- Having comfortable bedding is also important for a good night’s sleep. The NSF says a comfortable pillow will help support your neck and back throughout the night; a poorly chosen pillow can contribute to headaches, neck pain, and arm numbness.”