Better Sleep Month: Get a Good Night's Sleep | UHSM

If you’re having trouble sleeping, you aren’t alone. Many of us struggle with restless nights and interrupted sleep. Getting proper rest is beneficial to both your daily life and overall health. With May being Better Sleep Month, it’s the perfect time to focus on improving your nightly rest!

Sleep plays a significant part in our physical and mental well-being, affecting everything from our mood and energy levels to our ability to concentrate and make decisions. Maintaining a good sleep routine can help you eat less, exercise better and become healthier. When it comes to sleep, adults generally need somewhere between seven to eight hours a night to feel well-rested and energized throughout the day. And the more hours before midnight, the better.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that approximately 35% of adults in the US are not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep is known to cause various health problems, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and depression. Not getting enough sleep can decrease concentration and productivity throughout the day. However, better sleep habits can go a long way toward improving your health.

If you’re interested in optimizing your health while making sleep a top priority, take a look at these five tips to get a good night’s sleep today:

1. Stick to a sleep schedule.

Maintaining a consistent schedule can improve your sleep. Set a goal to fall asleep and wake up at the same time, both on weekdays and the weekends. Consistency will reinforce your body’s sleep cycle and improve long-term sleep quality. If bedtimes vary for one reason or another, set aside the same number of hours each night to get adequate rest. Before bed each night, stick to routines that promote relaxation.

2. Avoid technology.

Reducing technology use before bed can lead to better sleep. Start by removing your smartphone, computer and TV from your bedroom. The light from these digital devices can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Avoid looking at all devices an hour before going to bed. Darkness allows your brain to increase melatonin for a calming, sleepy effect, which is why it’s important to minimize light exposure before bedtime.

3. Pay attention to your nutrition.

Eating healthily throughout the day will improve your sleep. Don’t go to bed hungry or with an overly-full stomach, or eat right before you lay down. Certain foods and drinks can interfere with your sleep cycle. Avoid sugary and spicy foods that may keep you up. It’s good to take caution when it comes to caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before bedtime as well.

4. Exercise regularly.

Exercise is one of the top ways to improve your sleep and health. Studies show that regular physical activity can boost all aspects of sleep. Exercising offers the most benefits to increasing your total sleep time while decreasing the time it takes for you to fall asleep. Make sure to avoid being active too close to bedtime. Getting active earlier in the day is best because exercising late at night may have a negative effect on your sleep patterns.

5. Optimize your environment.

Keep your room dark, cool and quiet. Exposure to light in the evening can make it more challenging to fall asleep. Adjusting the temperature in your room to a comfortable setting can aid in your nightly sleep. Make sure your bed, pillows and bedding are comfortable and conducive for a solid night’s rest. Having comfortable pillows and blankets can make all the difference in your sleep quality.

Throughout this month, focus on your rest while working to make the changes needed to improve your sleep and your health. Restful sleep is key for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When people get the restful sleep they need, they will feel better and also increase their odds of living healthier, more productive lives. It’s time to give sleep the attention it deserves and get on your way to sleeping more soundly. Sweet dreams!

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