• Aging Well Denver

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

According to the CDC, 1 in 3 American adults struggle with getting enough sleep. Even worse, the number of adults with self-reported sleep disruption issues is over fifty percent. So, what gives? Some say that the stress of today's political climate, financial issues, and increased use of technology are to blame. Others would argue that it's simply, bad habits. Lack of sleep used to be worn as a badge of honor in the workplace, as proof that you were a hard worker or led a busy, full life. Recent studies have shown though that lack of sleep can lead to poor mental health, memory issues, and unhealthy weight gain.

So, what can you do about it? Sleep expert Michael Breus, the author of the book “The Power of When,” says there are several ways to make sure you get enough rest.

Stick to a schedule. This one might be disappointing, but keeping the same wake-up time every day is important. Sleeping in for a few days, even on the weekends, is enough to throw off your circadian rhythm and make waking up on Monday even harder. Use the time on the weekends to make a good breakfast or go for a walk!

Exercise. Just 20 minutes a day can drastically improve your sleep. Park a little further away from the office or pack your lunch and use the time to go for a walk. On the flip side, if you're an evening gym goer, make you complete your workout 4 hours before you plan on falling asleep. Working out too close to bedtime can keep you up and make it harder for your body and brain to settle down.

Limit your alcohol intake. We all enjoy a nightcap now and then but limiting yourself to two drinks can help you to get better quality sleep. One alcoholic beverage takes about an hour for your body to process so quit drinking two to three hours before hitting the hay.

Stop hitting the snooze button. You may think those extra 7 minutes are making you feel more rested but it's the exact opposite. Every time you hit the snooze button you are essentially taking mini naps, and since you aren't able to get into a deep sleep in that time, you wake up feeling rushed and less rested than you would have if you had gotten up when the alarm went off.

Get up and open the curtains. To avoid the morning foggy feeling, make it a point to get 15 minutes of sunlight first thing in the morning. If you wake up before the sun you can get a light box to achieve the same thing. The light will tell your brain to shut off the production of melatonin and leave you feeling ready to tackle the day.

Do you feel like you get enough sleep? Have you learned any tips help you catch enough z's? Share with us in the comments!