Chances are you’re not.
More than one third of Americans get less than the needed seven hours of snoozing a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over time, lack of sleep takes a toll on our well-being — so much so that the CDC calls it a public health epidemic.
With busy schedules, mobile phone usage and no shortage of television shows to binge watch, it’s no wonder that so many of us fail to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
How is it affecting your health? Bad sleep can disrupt the activity of genes that govern metabolism and immunity, which may spur diseases like Type 2 diabetes and pose other negative health risks.
Typically, it should take less than 15 minutes to fall asleep. Keck Medicine of USC experts recommend the following tips to ensure you’re catching restful Z’s:
Avoid bright light sources from digital devices.
Try to avoid the TV, cell phones and computers as part of your bedtime ritual. The light emitted by these devices can cause insomnia by preventing the release of a natural sleep hormone in your body call melatonin.
Avoid late night meals.
Eating dinner right before bed cause indigestion, which can keep you from resting peacefully.
Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol.
Avoid drinking coffee four to six hours before bed. Also, beware of hidden caffeine sources like chocolate or certain medications. Nicotine, like coffee, is a stimulant. Drinking a glass of wine may make you drowsy, but alcohol disrupts sleep as its effect wears off.
Avoid drinking too much water.
Don’t drink water too close to bed if you’re prone to middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom. Be mindful throughout the day to stay hydrated; proper hydration is also beneficial to a good night’s rest.
Develop a consistent ritual before bedtime.
This will tell your body and mind that it is time to relax. Some helpful tips include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music.
Create a room that’s cool, quiet and dark.
Creating an environment you can easily relax in will help you sleep soundly.
Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep.
Optimizing your bed for comfort will contribute to better sleep. Changing your pillow every six months is recommended, especially if you suffer from allergies.
See a physician, if necessary.
If sleep problems persist and are negatively impacting your quality of life, a sleep evaluation can help diagnose a potential sleep disorder. Your physician can then recommend a suitable treatment plan.
The USC Sleep Disorders Center, staffed by board-certified sleep specialists and registered polysomnograph technologists, provides patients with a high-quality sleep evaluation. Our sleep specialists conduct studies and provide treatments for numerous disorders.