Sleep is essential to your overall health. With busy schedules and the demands of family, work and community, people are frequently putting sleep on the back burner. Getting enough quality sleep can protect your mental health, physical health and quality of life. Sleep helps your brain function properly as well.
Take a look at your sleep routine and see if you are getting enough sleep. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you get at least seven hours of sleep each night? 7 to 8 hours is a good baseline for most adults to be rested.
- Do you go to bed and wake up the same time every day? It is better to stay consistent with your sleep schedule, even on the weekends.
- Are you drinking caffeine in the afternoon/ evening? Caffeine stimulates your brain. Caffeinated drinks can take three to seven hours to metabolize. Know when the best cut off time is for you to get a good night’s sleep.
- Do you turn off electronics before going to bed? The blue lights in electronic screens can be disruptive to sleep. Avoid using electronics a few hours before going to bed.
- Do you get regular exercise? Exercise can help you sleep better. Do moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day. However, working out too close to bedtime can interfere with your sleep. Try to plan your exercise routine several hours before going to bed.
- Are you eating or drinking before going to bed? Eating too close to bedtime can make you uncomfortable and be disruptive to your sleep. It’s a good idea to stop eating two to three hours before bedtime. It is also a good idea to limit how much you drink before bedtime to limit the times you wake up to go to the bathroom throughout the night.
- Can a nap help or hurt a good night’s sleep? That depends. A nap can help improve your alertness in the short-term, but it can disrupt sleep if taken too long or too late in the day. A short 20-30 minute nap in the day can rejuvenate you during the day without causing trouble sleeping at night. Do not take a nap later than 3:00 p.m. to interfere with your regular sleep pattern.