Every May, the Better Sleep Council, or BSC, sponsors Better Sleep Month with an aim to raise awareness about how poor sleep, especially on a regular basis, can negatively affect our lives and our health. The organization also places an emphasis on all the benefits of getting better sleep to improve our daily lives and overall health.
This year’s tagline is “Are You Better in Bed Than…?” and encourages people to brag about how good they are in bed – as it relates to sleeping, of course! The council has raised an interesting insight that shows a change in the importance of sleep in our society. Older generations often bragged about how little sleep they got as a way to show importance and career status, while the younger generation of millennials take their sleep very seriously and brag about how much sleep they make sure to get each night.
Bad Sleep Can = Bad Health
It might seem like not getting enough restful sleep just means you’ll need more coffee the next day. However, you’ll need more than some caffeine to make up for all that your body goes through as a result of poor sleep. Lack of sleep can affect hormones, leading to mood swings and delayed reaction and coordination. It can also increase the risk of developing dangerous chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and even diabetes. Another vital area poor sleep can affect is your immune system, making it harder to fight off illnesses.
Tips for Better Sleep
When you know you aren’t getting the sleep you need, it’s important to take steps to try and get adequate rest for your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Here are a few things to try:
Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
Your bedroom should be a tranquil place of peace and relaxation. It’s best not to have a television in your room and to try to keep screens out of the room in general, if possible. The temperature should be cool, ideally between 65 and 67 degrees.
Make Sure Your Mattress Is Up for the Job
Your mattress can make or break your comfort level when it comes to sleeping. If it is older than 7 years or visibly worn, experts generally agree that it should be replaced. If you find you get better sleep in a hotel bed or at a friend’s house, it may be time to go mattress shopping.
Find a Bedtime Ritual That Relaxes
Just like a simple bedtime routine helps small children sleep, adults can benefit from a bedtime ritual that helps them wind down. A nice cup of caffeine-free tea and a hot bath, perhaps, or maybe some bedtime yoga could help you train your brain to turn off and get ready for sleep. You may want to experiment with a few different routines until you find the perfect one for you.
If you’re still struggling to sleep, you could be suffering from sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep condition that needs treatment. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Norman, call today at (425) 374-1111.