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customized baby gifts How to Get Better Sleep- Actionable Guide pillow covers solid

Views:161 Updated: 2020-03-29

Most of us don’;t get enough sleep. An in-depth guide to help you get better sleep.

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About a third of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Seven hours is what the CDC considers restorative sleep, for the purpose of their research.

What keeps so many of us from getting enough sleep varies as much as our personalities do — which is to say, a great deal.

Whether it’;s an overactive mind, too much afternoon caffeine, or a snoring partner — no matter the reasons, you can do more to get better sleep. And if you don’;t, you may put your health at risk.

Research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine finds that when people don’;t get enough sleep, health risks rise — depression, seizures and hypertension worsen, while immunity plummets, so we catch colds and flu more easily; even our metabolism drops. Just one night of missed sleep can have negative consequences.

Here’;s our guide on why you’;re not seeing the sandman long enough and what you can to about it.

Why You’;re Not Getting Good Sleep

“Sleep wasn’;t even a medical discipline until thelate 90s,”; says Pete Bils, vice president of Sleep Science and Researchat Sleep Number.

Some of the most common reason why you’;re not sleeping include:

Sleeping in too late, or inconsistent sleep habits. Going to bed and waking at the same time daily is key to good sleep. Teens who busted their bedtime rules and stayed up late on weekends suffered symptoms of jet lag and slept less than seven hours per night during the weekcustomized baby gifts, found a Swedish study from Orebro University.

Big meals right before bed: If you tend to race from work to kids’; soccer practice, throwing dinner on the table right before bedtime, you might be sabotaging sleep. “A meal before bed raises your body temperature and digestion competes with sleep,”; warns Bils. Eating later can help, as can eating more fiber and less sugar and saturated fat, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Sugar or caffeine: Scientists are still studying the effects of sugar on sleep, but that 3 p.m. Frappuccino run is likely a bad idea. Bils says no one should consume caffeine after noon because it has a long half-life. That coffee drink still leaves about half it’;s caffeine in your system at bedtime. “You may be so tired that you fall asleep, but caffeine is going to disrupt your sleep for the first 3 to 4 hours, and it may wake you up,”; explains Bils. Plus, caffeine reduces your total sleep time and efficiency, and worsens sleep quality, finds research reported in Sleep Medicine Reviews.

Not enough exercise: Moderate exercise helps deep sleep, notes research at Johns Hopkins. Deep sleep is when your brain and body rejuvenate and recover. The caveat: Exercising too late in the day can negatively affect some people’;s sleep, so keep workouts away from bedtime and strive for at least 30 minutes daily.

Poor sleep environment: Is your room too hot? Too cold? Too light? Is your mattress comfortable? Are your pillows marshmallows or rocks? “When you are young and robust you can sleep through anything,”; shares Bils. Think of a toddler who passes out on the couch in the middle of grandma’;s Christmas party, despite 20 cousins running around. Adults haveto pay more attention to their sleeping environment because their sleep is not as dynamic as a child’;s. The key is toidentify those environmental issues, and correct them in a way thatencourages snoozing.

Screen time before bed: Blue light is not your friend. It shines out from laptops, tablets and smart phones, and triggers the brain to shut down melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that using a technological device within an hour of bedtime interrupts sleep. Worse, the more interactive you are on the device — playing video games, Scrabble on your phone, or texting — the more it interferes with sleep. “You should be in a dingy, orangish-yellowish light before bedtime to promote sleep,”; advises Bils. Think of a campfire or sunset. Any other color light makes it harder to fall into dreamy sleep.

Stress or anxiety: Deadlines, a problem with your co-worker, that new work project — work stress can follow you home and crawl into bed beside you, not only causing sleep issues but exacerbating them. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) says anxiety and stress cause sleep problems and sleep problems cause anxiety and stress. Practicing self-care like yoga, meditation, playing music or writing down worries can also help, as can speaking with your doctor.

Aging: Sleep disturbances arise more in middle age than when you’;re younger. “When you get into your fifth decade or so, we see that people take a longer time to fall asleep,”; says Bils. The demands of work and family mean you have less time for working out. Maybe you get up to go to the bathroom more often. Menopause or pre-menopausal problems like night sweats can keep women awake. Again, talking to a doctor could help.

What Happens When You Don’;t Get Good Rest

Decades ago scientists thought sleep was just a passive activity where the brain and body were dormant. Today we know that isn’;t the case. In fact, according to Johns Hopkins Medical School, researchers now understand that sleep is the time when numerous important brain and body activities take place.

Some of the consequences of sleep deprivation according to the Cleveland Clinic include a lack of alertness and poor memory. Sleep-deprived drivers have a greater likelihood of getting in a car accident. You’;ve probably experienced how moody and irritable you or a partner get when at least one of you hasn’;t slept, putting your relationship under fire.

But sleep runs deeper than that.

Your brain cycles repeatedly though two stages of sleep, non-REM (rapid eye movement) and REM. Non-REM consists of the period from wakefulness to sleep, light sleep, deep and then deeper sleep. Learning and memory as well as restorative functions in the body like muscle repair take place during Non-REM sleep.

REM sleep, on the other hand, where your eyes move behind their lids, is the stage where breathing gets deeper and the body is paralyzed to prevent acting out while dreaming. REM sleep helps balance moods, provides energy to the brain, and helps daytime functioning. You cycle four or five times between non-REM and REM sleep each night, with each non-REM episode becoming shorter and shorter.

Chronic sleep deprivation can hurt your health by producing hormones in the body that up your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. What’;s more, obesity, lowered sex drive and depression are classic effects. Work can suffer, too. Employees who sleep less also have less motivation, focus, and good decision making skills than when they slept more, according to a large study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

How to Get Better Sleep

It’;s easy for sleep researchers to tell you to get more shut-eye, but it’;s not always so easy to achieve. “Most people do not have medically-related sleep problems, they’;re just breaking the rules of good sleep,”; Bils comments.

Here are Bils’; best sleep rules:

Additional Resources

For additional resources on sleep quality, comfort and sleep hygiene, visit the links below:

Sleep Number Bed Buying Guide

Battling Mid-Life Insomnia

Insomnia: Symptoms and Causes

Five Tips to Fall Asleep Faster

Should you have a TV in the bedroom?

Five Foods to Avoid Before Sleep

Effects of Screen Time on Adult Sleep

Alcohol and a Good Night Sleep Don’;t Mix

How does lack of sleep affect workout performance?

Good Night

Getting a good night’;s sleep takes some attention to detail and prep work, but with a little knowledge and a bit of investigation into what helps you sleep best, you can be off in la la land in no time.

Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone’;s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360? smart beds with SleepIQ? technology inside sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping well all night long. Find your Sleep Number? setting for your best possible night’;s sleep.

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