Most of us aren’t getting as much sleep as we need. An average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep every night and it doesn’t take too many nights of lost sleep for that sleep debt to start accumulating. Unfortunately, what we know about sleep tells us that not getting the sleep we need can lead to serious consequences in the short term like drowsy driving, and in the long term, like diabetes and heart disease. Start the New Year off on the right side of the bed by using these 5 tips to help you get the sleep you need tonight and every night.
1. Get Your Priorities Straight
One of the most common reasons we don’t get the sleep we need is de-prioritizing sleep. This means deciding that watching this show, or answering this email, or playing that game is more important to us then getting the sleep we need. It can be very difficult to put sleep at the top of your list but it can be even harder to keep it there. Make sleep as a high a priority as exercising and eating right.
2. Invest in a Sleep Sanctuary
No doubt you have a gift card or three floating around from the holidays. Put those dollars to good use and upgrade your sleep environment. Everything from the firmness of your mattress to how comfortable your pajamas are can impact the quantity and quality of your sleep. Create a space that is conducive to sleep by addressing any issues with comfort, sound, light, and temperature. Spending a little now to ensure you can get the sleep you need all year will pay big dividends.
3. Solve Any Sharing Problems
Many adults share their bed with another being. This may be a spouse, a significant other, or even a pet. But sharing space might not be the best thing for you when it comes to getting the sleep you need. Take a look at how the shared arrangement is working for you and make any changes you can to make the arrangement better for you both. These changes can be as small as using two blankets if one person steals the covers or as big as investing in a bed that allows you to set each side differently.
4. Help Yourself with a Habit
Even though we may not like doing the same thing over and over, our body does, especially when it comes to going to sleep. Setting up a sleep/bedtime routine can make falling asleep easier and faster because our mind and body know what is coming next. You can choose whatever routine most appeals to you but it should not include anything electronic, especially things with a screen, or anything physically active, like exercise.
5. Back to Bedtime
One of the best ways to safeguard your sleep is to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, even on weekends and holidays. This consistency helps support your body’s clock and helps you keep sleep on the top of your priority list.