To improve your health, make sleep a priority, just like diet and exercise. Of course, that easier said than done. While adults should aim for eight hours of sleep each night, “with today’s technologies and busy lifestyles, six to eight hours of sleep are acceptable,” says Penny Hardison, a registered respiratory therapist and the manager of the Baptist Health Sleep Center in Madisonville. Her tips for getting a better night of sleep include:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This helps the body develop a sleep rhythm.
- Avoid taking naps. Babies and children are the exceptions.
- Develop a sleep ritual. For example, take a relaxing bath, read a book, and make sure your bedroom is comfortable and dark.
- Integrate exercise into each day. It can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, as it can energize you.
- Try to manage your stress. When you have a lot to do or think about, it can interfere with your sleep. Jot down what’s on your mind before going to bed.
- Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. They stimulate and may interrupt the ability to produce sleep-inducing hormones.