According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems. That’s a lot of tossing and turning and sleepless nights (not just in Seattle), and these numbers don’t include those who are undiagnosed or who suffer from curable sleep problems that are caused by poor sleep hygiene or avoidable stresses.
If you’ve branded yourself a “night owl” and find that you have a difficult time falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling rested, we recommend starting with the following three tips to sleep better and have a healthier lifestyle.
3 Simple Things to Do Before Bed for a Healthier Lifestyle
1. Watch What and When You Eat and Drink
Your diet can have a big impact on your sleep. You probably know that you should cut the caffeine early in the day, but you should also avoid drinking alcohol too late at night, too. Additionally, don’t eat right before bed because digesting can actually keep you awake.
2. Get Bright Light Exposure During the Day
We all have what’s called a circadian rhythm, and this is an internal clock that regulates the body’s hormone production that tells it when to feel sleepy and when to have energy and be awake. Make sure you are exposed to plenty of bright, natural sunlight during the daytime. This natural light helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, making sure it’s in sync with the sunrise and sunset.
3. Unplug Early
Blue light (the kind of light that comes from computers, tablets, television, and smartphone screens) has the same effect on the body’s circadian rhythm that natural sunlight light does – it keeps you awake. Unplug from your devices and turn off the television at least an hour before going to bed. The dark will help encourage your body to start producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy and helps you to fall asleep.
Trouble Sleeping? Schedule a Checkup at Gulf Coast Health Center
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested in the morning, we recommend scheduling an appointment to see a doctor. Sleep problems can go beyond playing Words With Friends too late into the night, and any issues or changes with your sleep warrant a medical checkup. To schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact any of our locations along the Gulf Coast today.