We spend a third of our lives asleep. That’s about 25 years! But almost 60% of Canadian adults are sleep deprived, averaging 6.9 hours of sleep a night. Thirty percent of adults get less than 6 hours a night which can negative affect behaviour and productivity.
Experts recommend 7–9 hours because a good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be a healthier you. If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do. You can start by optimizing your sleep hygiene.
Practicing Sleep Hygiene
A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Research indicates that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children.
1. Increase day light exposure
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, blue light exposure from electronics like smartphones and computers, trick your body into thinking it’s daytime. Stop watching TV or computer stream two hours before heading to bed or wear glasses that block blue light.
3. Cut the Caffeine & Alcohol
Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6-8 hours. Consuming it late in the day, stimulates your nervous system hindering your body from naturally relaxing at night. Alcohol can increase symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns while altering natural melatonin production.
4. Optimize Bedroom Environment.
The way your bedroom is set up can be key factor to quality of sleep. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing and clean. Bedroom temperature also has a profound affect on sleep quality. One study found bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise.
5. Rule Out Sleep Disorder
If you’ve always struggled with sleep, consult your healthcare provider. A common issue is sleep apnea which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing. Other common issues can include sleep movement disorders and circadian rhythm sleep/wake disorders which are common in shift workers.
6. Reduce Nap Time
Napping is one of life’s little pleasures but long naps may impair sleep quality at night. Either stop napping or shorten naps.
7. Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times.
The body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop aligned with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times (even on weekends) can aid long term sleep quality.
8. When all else fails, try a natural supplement.
When taking ProActive Sleepy Time Drops, start with a low dose to assess your tolerance and then increase it slowly as needed. If sleeplessness persists seek medical advice.