So many of us know we should get more sleep, but yet we are chronically tired. More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a new study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)
Are you hitting snooze five times, shuffling for the coffee maker in the morning to function and needing wine at night to relax? What if there was a better way, and you could feel more rested and productive by Friday? All you need is to make one small change each day. All you need are the tools we all have at our fingertips and the willingness to feel better.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.
5 Ways to Get More Sleep by Friday
Taking into account 7 Hours is the goal for optimal health, we have to work backwards. If I want to be asleep at 11, and I get up at 6 everyday to take my kids to school, workout, start my day, I can not start thinking about going to bed at 11. It takes 90 minutes for our bodies to wind down from electronics and the days activities.
I go dark at 9:30 on most weeknights. Meaning, I turn off my phone, I let my DVR pick up This Is Us and check in on my kids. Then I go into my bedroom.
Figure out your own desired bedtime and work backwards. Remember, this is for 5 days. You can do anything for 5 days.
Given I want to be asleep at 11, I do not eat dinner past 8. When we eat a large meal too close to bedtime, it can make us sleepy. Envision the post Thanksgiving coma we collectively go into as a nation. We usually lay around on the couch until someone mentions “pie” then we perk up for our next carb and sugar gut bomb. It does not make for restful slumber at all. Most of us look for Tums and Rolaids.
We will away stay from alcohol for these 5 days, it can disrupt your sleep patterns making you wake up more, even giving you night sweats and nightmares (WebMd).
Develop a nighttime routine. As Tim Ferris says “if you win the morning, you win the day”. How we end our day is as important as we start the day. What calms you?
Here is mine: I hop in the shower, wash my face, brush my teeth, change into pajamas, journal, do a short gratitude list 3-5 things and 3-5 goals for tomorrow, then I will read a traditional book as in not on a tablet. I always change into fresh pajamas. It is very Mr. Rogers of me, but to have separate sleeping clothes changes things for me. I do not sing but is your nighttime routine, do whatever works.
Sometime during the day get 30-60 minutes of exercise. You will be more productive during the day, and have an easier time going to sleep night.
Physical activity improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration. Exercise improves sleep because it reduces stress and tires you out. Early morning and afternoon exercise may also help reset the sleep wake cycle by raising body temperature slightly, then allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later. It can be especially helpful if you are able to exercise outdoors and let your body absorb natural sunlight during the daytime hours (sleep.org)
I have a White Noise App on my phone and it helps me get to sleep. It is almost like Pavlov’s dog where as soon as I hear any white noise, I get drowsy, especially on a plane. There are many apps and settings.
The ideal temperature for sleeping is considered to be 60 to 67 degrees (time.com), adjust your thermostat accordingly.
Many of us have pets in our bed, but they can wake us up and their fur can lead to an allergic reaction. Let Fluffy or Max sleep in their pet bed you excitedly bought but have rarely used. Odds are, everyone will sleep better.
Changing habits takes time, but in as little as a workweek, you can be feeling better and have made serious progress towards reducing your chances of developing a chronic disease. Oh and This Is Us will be there in the morning.