5 Habits for Better Sleep

Too little sleep has a negative impact on health. Our expert tips will help give your body the rest it needs.
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Not getting enough sleep? You’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of U.S. adults don’t sleep for the recommended seven hours a night.

“You can have more of an attention deficit [from lack of sleep],” says Srikant Kondapaneni, M.D., chief of pulmonary medicine at Englewood Health. “You can have problems concentrating, keeping up with things and problems focusing. Chronic sleep deprivation affects energy levels and may cause depression.”

Medical problems also can plague folks who consistently get shortchanged on their slumber. “For those who sleep less than six hours per night on average, studies have shown they are more prone to heart disease and weight gain,” explains Dr. Kondapaneni.

Life in 2018 isn’t helping. Your cellphone, tablet and TV all emit a type of blue light that restrains the release of melatonin in the brain, which controls your sleep/ wake cycle, making it harder to snooze.

He suggests better sleep hygiene, which means “going into the bedroom to go to sleep or to be intimate, that’s it. There should be nothing stressful in the bedroom, which should be a quiet room that is darker and ideally cooler than other areas of the house.”

Stick with the following five habits to help ensure you wake up refreshed and ready to go.

1. RESIST THE SNOOZE BUTTON. As good as that extra seven minutes might seem, it won’t be the quality sleep that will make you feel rested. Instead, set your alarm 10 minutes later, then get up right away.

2. DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL. A daily 30-minute walk might be the change you need. A 2013 poll found that people who exercise report sleeping better and feeling more rested than those who don’t exercise. Get outside, if possible: Sunlight will help to regulate your body’s internal clock.

3. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Turn on do-not-disturb mode to prevent notifications and give your mind a break. Better yet, buy an alarm clock so you can leave your phone outside the bedroom.

4. KEEP YOUR ROOM DARK. Hang room-darkening curtains or purchase an eye mask. Even light from a cable box can disrupt the quality of your sleep.

5. AVOID ALCOHOL. Drinking before bed may give you the illusion of better slumber, but studies have shown that it interferes with quality shut-eye. Also avoid caffeine from early afternoon on and heavy meals late at night.

The Dangers of Losing Sleep Not sleeping enough increases your risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired memory
  • Lack of alertness
  • Obesity
  • ​Stroke

Srikant Kondapaneni, M.D.chief of pulmonary medicine at Englewood Health

Categories: Bergen Health & Life, Health & Beauty Features