Every night millions of Americans routinely get less than six hours of sleep. Are you one of them? The American family’s lifestyle is one that always seems to be “on the go.” Unfortunately, this means we aren’t taking the time for the rest and recuperation we need. Healthcare professionals and sleep experts recommend a person gets between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. When you don’t you tend to get sleepy and are less able to concentrate during the day. You’re also more prone to catching colds and the flue. At work this translates into being less productive aside from being cranky. And who wants to be around a person who’s cranky? Nobody.
If you recognize yourself falling into this pattern where you believe you’re so busy you don’t have time to sleep, it’s time to simplify your schedule by prioritizing what you need to get done and eliminating the things you believe are unnecessary. At the end of a long day many adults unwind by either surfing the Internet, reading a book or watching TV. By the time they shower and get ready for bed it’s past midnight and they have to be up by six o’clock the next morning. Too tired and groggy to get up and exercise, we sleep in and rush out the door, grabbing breakfast at the drive thru on the way into work. What happens next? Weight gain. Something’s gotta give. If this is happening to you, one strategy to break this vicious cycle is to set a time limit on web surfing, reading and TV watching late at night.
For other folks suffering from sleep deprivation, the issue isn’t about getting to bed, it’s about getting to sleep. Millions of Americans are what they call “late night worriers.” These are folks with active minds who spend several minutes or hours going over the day’s stressors. They agonize over a co-worker’s sarcastic or disrespectful comments, unrealistic expectations and workload delegated to them by their boss or resolving and letting go of hurt feelings and even built up resentment they blame on their spouse. When they finally do get to sleep, the sleep they experience is anything but restful and they wake up feeling exhausted the next morning.
So how does the average busy American get a good night’s sleep? The secrets are relatively simple with the key lying in being true to yourself and taking care of number one. First, make going to bed at the same time every night so you can get between seven and nine hours a sleep your top priority and stick to it. Avoid caffeinated drinks at least five hours before going to bed as this is a stimulant. You’ll also want to avoid drinking alcohol before bed as it will wear off in the middle of the night and causes many people to wake up feeling anxious.
Other secrets to getting a good night’s sleep include banishing the TV from your bedroom and any other electronics for that matter. Opt for reading materials with a positive message rather than violent movies or TV shows just before bed. Avoid going to bed angry. It’s better to forgive and let go of hurt feelings. If you don’t have time to exercise in the morning and prefer to do it at night, make sure you do so at least three hours before bedtime. Exercise pumps up your metabolism and will actually keep you up if you do it just before bed. Just remember you won’t be your best if you don’t get enough rest. Now, try out our secrets to getting a good night’s sleep and see if they work for you!