More often than not, our busy, stressful days tend to become endless nightly marathons of tossing and turning. And, as you’ve probably discovered, counting sheep rarely proves successful. So, you may want to pay extra attention to your health insurance, because lack of sleep could affect your well-being.
That’s why you may also want to consider some simple tips for a better sleep – from setting a sleep schedule to including physical activity in your daily routine. The next time you feel crabby or simply worn out and wonder what’s wrong – maybe the solution is better sleep.
A variety of factors can interfere with a good night’s sleep – including pressure at work, family responsibilities as well as unexpected challenges, such as layoffs, relationship issues or illnesses. Even noisy neighbors can sometimes make getting quality sleep elusive.
Although you might not be able to control all factors that keep you up at night, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep by following these 7 simple steps.
- Stick to a sleep schedule
Start by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. That includes weekends, holidays and days off. By being consistent you’ll reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle and help promote better sleep at night. However, if you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing, such as reading a book. Go back to bed when you begin to feel tired. Try not to agonize over falling asleep or you might find it even tougher to nod off.
- Pay close attention to what you eat and drink
Most times you won’t give it much thought, but don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Both might cause discomfort that keeps you awake. In addition, limit how much liquid you consume before bed, to prevent sleep disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom.
Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine can take several hours to wear off to the point they can ruin a quality sleep. And, while alcohol might make you feel relaxed and sleepy at first, you can expect it to disrupt your sleep later in the night.
- Create a bedtime routine
In other words, do the same things each night so your body knows it’s time to wind down. Relaxing activity, such as taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music, preferably with the lights dimmed can help promote better sleep by easing the transition between a state of wakefulness and one of drowsiness.
Using the TV, especially watching the late night news, or other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual can have an adverse effect. In fact, some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.
- Get comfortable
Create a room and atmosphere that are ideal for sleeping. That usually means keeping things cool, dark and quite. Room-darkening shades that block light, earplugs, and a fan or other device to produce white noise can be quite helpful.
Don’t overlook your mattress and pillows as a reason for your lack of sleep. They should contribute to you getting a good night’s slumber, not keeping you awake. When it comes to bedding, choose what feels most comfortable to you. And, if you share a bed, make sure there’s enough room for two. So, resist letting children or pets sleep with you – and you’ll have a better chance of sleeping through the night.
We promised you 7 Steps to a Better Sleep and we’ll deliver on that promise next week. Just stay tuned for Part II – and the final 3 steps to a better sleep.
In the meantime, don’t neglect your health. Whether you call it Obamacare or Affordable Care Act, health coverage is more affordable than you think. And, now – in case you haven’t heard – there’s a penalty for not having health insurance. So, why not start thinking about protecting yourself and your family before the next enrollment period by getting the best health insurance quotes today?
Are you prone to having trouble falling asleep? Did you find these tips helpful? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.