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Improve your sleep, improve your life.

Precision Orthopedics By Precision
November 29, 2022 | Health

You know that feeling after a long and restful night of uninterrupted solid sleep? That feeling that your body has repaired itself and your mind is fresh and ready to make all of those important tasks of the day. 

Coffee becomes more of a pleasure and less of a necessity. The day is yours.

Now ask yourself, when was the last time you got a night of sleep that left you feeling like this? If you find yourself scratching your head a little at this question, you’re certainly not alone. 

In fact, more than 35 percent of Americans don’t get enough sleep according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and 1 in 20 Americans have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past month.

Read that last line again, it’s rather terrifying isn’t it?

Along with the traffic accidents caused by nodding off at the wheel, a lack of good quality sleep can lead to a whole spectrum of negative health issues such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression. 

Not to mention, the constant foul mood caused by waking up on the wrong side of the bed (after a poor night of sleep!).

We have a strange habit of rewarding those who prioritize staying up late to work or socialize over turning in for an early night – consequently resulting in Americans being ranked among some of the most sleep-deprived nationalities in the world. 

Even though we all secretly know that being sleep-deprived isn’t something to be rewarded for; it’s a threat to our health.

Now, enough of all the negativity, already! Let’s find some ways to improve our sleep and consequently improve our lives, right? 

Sleep Improvement Hack 1 – Make it a Priority

The first, and possibly most important solution, is to make sleep a priority. Understandably,  this is easier said than done, but take a moment to remind yourself of the negative effects a lack of sleep can have on your body. A good amount of sleep falls well within the bracket of your overall health. Consider it as important as regular daily exercise and a healthy, nutritious, sustainable diet. If time is an issue (like it is for us all!), find things you can cut down on a little to make space for more sleep. 

Once you begin to prioritize sleep (especially over work, socializing, social networking, and that new episode of ‘Whatever’ on Netflix), allow it to become consistent with roughly the same bedtime and wake-up schedule. Everything will fall nicely into place thereafter. 

Sleep Improvement Hack 2 – Reduce That Blue Light 

About 25% of the light that comes naturally from the sun is blue light. This light can suppress melatonin production, which gives you that almost instant ‘wake-up’ feeling when the sun hits your face first thing in the morning. However, when the sun goes down, melatonin levels expectedly increase, allowing your body to prepare for a good night of sleep. Unless, of course, you find yourself looking at a screen. Did you know that most screens emit blue light? The same light that comes from the sun itself! 

To reach optimal levels of sleep, avoid looking at a screen for at least an hour before bedtime. There are so many books to read in such little time! Whip out a classic and you’ll soon find that all the letters on the pages turn to peaceful z’s in your head. 

If ditching the screen before bed is really not an option for you, consider applying the ‘Blue Light Filter’ that most phones now have already installed. 

Sleep Improvement Hack 3 – Buy an Alarm Clock

‘But my phone has an alarm clock, this doesn’t apply to me, right?’ 

That’s exactly our point.

Sleeping with the phone next to the bed is like leaving dracula in charge of a blood bank. The temptation is just too real! Instead, leave the phone outside the bedroom and buy an alarm clock to pull you from the land of nod instead. You’ll also completely rid the middle-of-the-night time checks on your phone that blast that blue light into your face like a bucket of cold water. 

Sleep Improvement Hack 4 – Avoid ‘The Good Stuff’ Before Bedtime

When we say ‘The Good Stuff’, we’re referring to the certain things that may be nice to enjoy at other times during the day, but for 2 hours before bedtime, they should be avoided completely. 

We’re talking about food, coffee, and alcohol. All of which can wreck a potential excellent night of sleep. Caffeine for obvious reasons, but food and alcohol require a lot of work from your body to break down. It may seem like you sleep better after a large meal or a glass of wine (or both!), but your body has to work extra hard to process a meal or an alcoholic beverage, causing the regular sleep disturbances that ultimately leave you feeling unrested the following day. 

Sleep Improvement Hack 5 – Create a Bedtime Routine

Naturally, we’re creatures of habit. We simply function better when we have a routine; the same goes for sleep. Building a bedtime routine can better prepare both your body and mind for the quiet time to come. As mentioned, begin by cutting out ‘The Good Stuff’ 2 hours before you intend to zonk out. Then, switch off the screens as you get an hour closer to ‘Slumberville’.

The rest is really up to you, but some great habits include a warm shower or bath, reading, meditation, dimming the lights, and other ‘bedtime activities’ that help you prepare for a restful well-deserved night of sleep. 

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature, get into position, and drift away. It may take a few nights to find your rhythm, but keep at it. If you find yourself tossing and turning a lot, try to get some extra exercise throughout your day; this should do the trick in tiring your body out a little more. 

 Finally, how much sleep do you actually need?

Thanks to we can provide you with a very handy chart (found below) to go over and compare. Of course, this will differ from person to person, but it’s a great place to start when looking for a general idea of your recommended nightly hours.

More information can be found here, along with free guides based on your personal sleeping habits. 

Sweet dreams!