Everyone experiences trouble sleeping occasionally. However, not getting enough sleep consistently can be harmful to your overall health and well-being. Lack of sleep can cause daytime fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, and memory issues, and may even increase your risk for heart issues. While you may experience a lack of sleep due to many reasons, such as stress, it can also be a sign of an underlying condition.
Sleep disorders are more common than you might think. Sleep disorders are so prevalent in the U.S. that the CDC has declared them a public health epidemic. Moreover, Missouri was found to be a hotspot for sleep issues in a study conducted to identify the hotspots and coldspots for insufficient sleep in the U.S. Reports also show that around 30% of residents in Missouri experience sleep problems. So, it is safe to say that insufficient sleep is a common problem for the residents of Missouri.
Sleep deprivation can seriously affect your quality of life. Therefore, it is necessary to take appropriate steps to improve your sleep health.
Tips to Improve Sleep Health
Here are some tips to help you get your sleep schedule back on track.
1. Try Taking Supplements
There are many supplements you can try, such as medical marijuana, which have proven to help as a short-term treatment for sleep issues.
It’s important to note that medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, with more than 200,000 people holding active licenses for it in the state. To use medical marijuana for your sleep issues, all you need to do is register yourself at the MMMP website.
Similarly, you can also use magnesium and melatonin supplements as sleep aids. However, these supplements should not be taken for a long time as they might come with side effects. It is recommended to seek medical advice before you incorporate any supplements into your diet.
2. Stay Physically Active
Exercising at least 30 minutes a day helps you sleep better and also reduces symptoms of psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. Regular exercise can also:
- Boost your mood
- Increase energy
- Help prevent chronic diseases
- Improve your ability to function
Exercise helps release endorphins, which are responsible for boosting your mood and making you feel energized. It also increases your body temperature, which in turn increases energy. However, after some time, your body temperature lowers, which helps facilitate sleep.
3. Limit Daytime Naps
Sleeping too much throughout the day or taking long naps can throw off your sleep schedule, which can make it harder to fall asleep at night. So, if you need to nap, it is recommended to limit your naps to 20 minutes only. And the best time to nap is during the afternoon after you have had your lunch.
4. Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeinated drinks are popular for offering a burst of energy and reducing sleepiness during the day. However, this approach can cause sleep deprivation and ruin your sleep schedule. So, it is recommended to avoid caffeinated drinks after 4 p.m. Drinks to avoid before bed include:
5. Avoid Heavy Meals
Eating a heavy meal right before bed can make it harder for you to fall asleep as your body will still be digesting the food. Moreover, eating big meals before bed can also negatively affect the release of melatonin and HGH, both of which are important for promoting sleep health.
So, it is important to eat dinner at least two hours before bedtime and avoid heavy or spicy foods right before sleeping. However, if you feel hungry, you can still eat light snacks, as sleeping on an empty stomach can be difficult as well.
6. Create a Sleep Ritual
Creating a sleep ritual can help signal your body that it is time to sleep. As a child, your parents might have read you a story, sang a lullaby, and tucked you into bed. This acted as a sleep ritual and helped you fall asleep.
So, you need to do the same as an adult and create a relaxing sleep ritual. You can:
- Meditate or try relaxing/breathing exercises
- Take a bath
- Drink warm milk
7. Avoid Blue Light Before Bed
Smartphones and other electronic devices emit a soft glow called blue light. Exposure to blue light before bed can mess with your circadian rhythm and reduce the release of melatonin, all of which is necessary to help you sleep.
So, it is important to avoid blue light exposure a few hours before bed. You can turn off your cell phone and avoid watching TV or working on your laptop right before bed. But, if blue light exposure is unavoidable, you can invest in special glasses or install apps on your phone or laptop, both of which are useful for blocking blue light.
8. Reduce Your Room’s Temperature
Sleeping in a room that is too hot or too cold can be distracting and can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. So, it is recommended to lower your room’s temperature to create a comfortable environment for sleeping. Around 20˚˚ C is often considered a comfortable temperature to sleep in, but it can vary according to individual preferences.
9. Avoid Tossing and Turning
Tossing and turning in bed when you can’t sleep is normal, but it won’t do you any good. It will only help your brain create a connection between your bed and restlessness, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
So, if you have been in bed for 20 minutes and still can’t sleep, get up. After getting up, you can do something relaxing or easy while avoiding bright or blue light and get in bed once you start feeling sleepy or tired.
10. Increase Exposure to Natural Light
Exposure to natural light helps regulate your body’s internal clock. So, it is important to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight every day to improve your circadian rhythm. You can open windows, push back curtains, or go for a walk.
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for maintaining your physical and mental health. While you may experience trouble sleeping occasionally, it is necessary to take action if your lack of sleep starts interfering with your ability to function. You can use the above-mentioned tips and tricks to improve your sleep health and boost your quality of life. However, if nothing works, it is recommended to seek medical advice right away.