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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Overweight? Might Need To Get More Sleep.

Better sleep leads to better health.

Plenty of health problems, from obesity to migraines, have been linked to a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night; less than that and it could be difficult to perform the most basic of tasks. Sadly, according to the National Health Interview Survey, at least 30% of adults get fewer than 6 hours of sleep each night.

So, if you find yourself among the one-third of sleep-deprived Americans, there are ways to improve your sleep habits. A recent report by ABC News outlines a few tips to help you get the kind of rest your body needs.

Some of the tips in the article may surprise you. One such idea is to skip your evening workout. We know exercise is a great way to manage stress and can help you sleep; but it also gives you a natural energy boost – something you definitely don’t want if you’re trying to get some shut-eye. So, the article recommends exercising early in the day. Also, eating dinner several hours before bed will help with digestion and make you more comfortable at bedtime. Another new tip: counting backwards from 300 by 30’s.

Here are a few more tips to help you sleep better:
  • Decrease your caffeine intake and go caffeine-free after 2pm.
  • Take a warm bath each night before bed.
  • Make your bedroom a sanctuary. It should be a quiet place to relax (free of kids and pets); maintain a comfortable, cool temperature in your room; and make sure your mattress isn’t part of the problem.
  • Establish a routine. Maybe it begins with meditation, a cup of tea, or a good book. Keep your routine consistent so your body starts to recognize the “cues” for bedtime.
  • Go to bed and wake up about the same time each day. Sleeping in on days off will only throw your schedule off and it really isn’t possible to “catch up” on lost sleep.
Try just one of these tips every night this week and sleep tight.