You’ve had a full day, but you’ve got to squeeze in time for email, your favorite shows, Facebook, or your favorite game, right? But how you use the time before bed may impact the quality and quantity of your sleep. The Mayo Clinic recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter amounts of time than younger adults.1 Sleeping less than 7 hours a night, though, is associated with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues. If you make sleep a priority, it may help with other wellness goals and improve your overall health.2
Keep a schedule. Aim to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day—even on weekends! Set a realistic bedtime that works with your lifestyle, and avoid sleeping in—even on nights you’ve stayed up late. Sleeping late may cause you to stay up later, making it harder to maintain your set wake-up time. While you’re building a healthier schedule, avoid hitting that snooze button and you’ll feel less groggy.
Get moving. Regular exercise reduces stress and anxiety and generally improves sleep. However, exercising a few hours before bedtime may make falling asleep challenging. So, you need to figure out what works best for you. Take notes on how well you sleep after working out at different times. Try exercising earlier in the day, not right before bedtime, and see if you sleep better.3
Wind down. Take a hot bath, brew some (decaf) tea, do something relaxing (ideally without an electronic device). Winding down an hour before bed may help alert your mind and body that it’s time to go to sleep. If you’re guilty of lying in bed unable to sleep due to stress, try writing down what’s on your mind. Outline what’s keeping you awake, no matter how simple or complicated, can help relax your mind before bed.
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.
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