Did you know that sleep is as important to your health as exercising and eating well? In fact, it’s amazing just how much getting enough sleep can do for you. It can help in…
- maintaining a healthy weight
- reducing inflammation that is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis
- improving memory, concentration and productivity
- increasing creativity and academic and athletic performance
- enhancing immune function
- lowering stress and risk of depression
Although how much sleep is needed varies by individual, there are recommendations organized by age.
- Older adults (65+): 7–8 hours
- Adults (18–64 years): 7–9 hours
- Teenagers (14–17 years): 8–10 hours
- School children (6–13 years): 9–11 hours
There are several things we can do to help ensure a good night’s sleep.
- establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine
- keeping the bedroom cool
- having a comfortable mattress and pillows
- making sure the room is dark
- exercising during the day
- avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime
- avoiding alcohol – which disrupts sleep – close to bedtime
- avoiding heavy, rich, fatty, fried or spicy dishes right before bedtime
- shutting down all technology an hour before bedtime
Doing the right things to improve your sleep is known as sleep hygiene. My sleep hygiene is excellent, except for…. Technology: I read books on my iPad. E-books are easy to store, travel with, and, to be honest, there’s that immediate gratification thing. One click and the book is mine. Reading before going to sleep can help reduce stress and enhance your rest, but not if it’s on your phone, iPad or computer. All that blue light interferes with the production of melatonin, a chemical needed for sleep. It also makes us feel more alert, and is apparently used in places like factories to help night workers.
So, an obvious solution would be for me to switch to “regular” books, which I love. I have a pile on my bedside table waiting for me. But what about all those great electronic titles? My solution was to purchase a pair of yellow tinted glasses. Both yellow and brown tinted glasses work great for blocking the blue light.
I have prescription glasses that I wear all of the time, so I needed to find tinted glasses that would fit over them. These (affiliate link) work really well and are inexpensive. In the meantime, I am working toward no technology an hour before lights out.