Getting a good night’s sleep can be one of the biggest hurdles of the day. We may stay up late worrying, trying to get work done or simply face bad luck. Not sleeping well is linked with serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, impaired decision-making and of course, less energy. Health experts recommend that adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Feeling like you aren’t getting the sleep you need? Try a new sleep tip tonight!
Here are some expert-recommended tips for getting a better night’s sleep:
- Keep bedroom quiet, dark, and cool
- Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule
- Exercise regularly
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed
Experts recommended these tips, but do they work for the average person? We asked some of our co-workers to put some of these sleep tips to the test. We challenged them to try out at least one new sleep habit for one week. Then we asked, “How did you sleep?”.
Finally Sleeping Through the Night
Karen Brugno from Monroe County tried avoiding large meals and caffeine before bed and reducing her late-night screen time. Before trying these tips, Karen reported she would often wake up during the night.
But, with the new sleep tips, Karen felt she was sleeping deeper and completely through the night. She also found that not using electronics before bed helped her feel less anxious and sleepier, helping her fall asleep faster. The changes made an almost immediate difference in her sleep.
One of the hurdles that she faced was a late meal after one of her children’s sports events. She immediately noted the difference and was right back to what she calls “choppy interrupted sleep”.
More Serenity for a Sleep Aficionado
Pati Christian, a self-proclaimed “sleep aficionado” from Monroe County, has a lot of experience trying to improve her sleep. Pati decided to try avoiding electronics before bed. To help her avoid the late-night screen time, she tried to check off her usual screen time to-do’s, like checking her calendar and the weather, earlier in the evening. This way she was already prepared for the next day.
Pati said one of the challenges for avoiding electronics was not responding to text messages. As a child of an elderly, out-of-state parent, Pati wanted to be available if she was needed, but knew that “if there was a real issue, the phone would ring”. Ditching the screen time before bed made Pati feel calmer and more at peace before bed. It also increased the time she slept each night by 15 to 30 minutes more each night. The added sleep and serenity also gave Pati a modest boost of energy during the day.
Finding New Ways to Keep Your Bedtime Routine
For Sam Barnes, from Herkimer County, switching off electronics before bed was TOUGH. Before trying this tip, Sam would often read in bed on her phone or Kindle. Her husband would usually watch TV before bed. That was their routine.
The first couple of nights without screens or reading were rough for Sam. She tossed and turned, feeling out of sorts without her usual routine. Fortunately, Sam found that reading a book before bed calmed the restlessness. To keep up with her new habit, Sam is searching for a screen reader that does not give off the bright light (or blue light) that can harm her sleep.
Rested And Energetic 7 Days a Week
Sharon Palmiter, from Monroe County, tackled a challenging sleep tip: sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. To make this change easier, Sharon said she needed to be willing to wind down her night, even if there were still things on her to-do list. She worked on prioritizing what needed to be done first when she got home, like walking the dogs or prepping food, over what she could let go for later.
The benefit of sticking to a sleep schedule is that Sharon reports that she can “fall asleep almost instantly and wake up a few minutes before her alarm”. As a bonus, she feels “more rested and energetic seven days a week!”.
Still struggling to get the shut-eye you need?
A free, educational sleep poster is available to view and download by clicking HERE. For more help with sleep, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist.
Have you tried something to improve your sleep? Share your tips in the comments below.