Over a 1/3 of Americans don't get enough sleep at night...that is CRAZY. Sleep is incredibly important to our bodies ability to repair on a cellular level, eliminate waste, and for proper organ function. A number of diseases can be linked to a deprivation of sleep. So if you're among those that aren't getting enough zzz's, what steps can you take to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep?
1. Limit Screen Exposure 2 hours before bed. Yep, you read that right. Two hours before bed it's time to put away all electronics. Phones, computers, iPads, and television screens interrupt your body's production of melatonin and circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to not only fall asleep at night, but also to stay asleep.
2. Create a night-time routine. Your body thrives off habit. Creating a routine signals you're body that it's time to wind down. Activities that make for great night time routines are an after-dinner walk, taking a warm shower, drinking a cup of non-caffeinated tea, and reading. Pick activities you love to do but are also calming for your mind.
3. Exercise, every day. Getting enough physical activity into your day reduces stress and anxiety while also physically tiring you out. No matter what healthy lifestyle you are trying to make, adding in enough physical activity is always a good idea.
4. Turn down your thermostat. Although it can be fun and tempting to play games with not turning on your air in the summer, the reality is that your body sleeps best when the temperature is cooler. Optimal sleeping temperatures are between 60-68 degrees.
5. Invest in a quality mattress and pillow. You spend an average 8 hours a night on your mattress and pillow. That's 56 hours a week and 2,912 hours a year. Choosing a mattress and pillow that's appropriate for you helps eliminate stress on your neck and lower back and also encourages a deeper sleep by keeping your comfortable all night long. Splurge on these items and your investment will more pay for itself in terms of your health.