We’ve all heard for years that we should all get 8 hours of sleep per night. And yet, a good nights sleep is one of those areas that we seem to short-change ourselves. In fact, one in four Americans don’t even get 6 hours per night. Yet, you need 8 hours of sleep nightly to function at your best.
Lack of sleep is bad for your health. Your body needs that time to rebuild damage that occurs during the day. And, in a 15-year longitudinal study of nearly 2,500 women, those who had disturbed sleep turned out to be much more likely to have cognitive decline as they aged – your brain needs sleep just as much as the rest of your body!
Unfortunately, too many people are seeking the help of prescription sleep aids. IMS Health, a pharmaceutical research company, said that in 2005, 42 million sleeping pill prescriptions were filled, which is an increase of nearly 60 percent since 2000. And, that rate has increased to 1 in 25 people, according to the CDC.
It gets difficult trying to marry a busy schedule with a good nights sleep. And many times, our crazy lives keep us from getting to sleep in the first place. How then, can you get to sleep, and get a restful sleep, without resorting to prescription medication?
First, make sleep a priority. You can’t “make up” for lost sleep by sleeping in (and…sometimes, sleeping in on a weekend isn’t an option anyway). Make sure that you establish sleep as a priority in your life.
Second, avoid caffeine after noon. Not only does this mean avoiding that afternoon trip to Starbucks, but also watch your soft drink intake, as well as what types of tea you drink (herbal tea or green tea is a great substitute).
Third – exercise! That’s right – getting a good, regular workout in is a great way to make sure that the sleep you do get is a deeper, more restful sleep! Plus, those regular workouts are a great way to relieve stress, helping you get the “sweet dreams” that you need!
In the end, if you get your “8 hours” nightly, you’re going to be more efficient during the day – once you get into a good sleep routine, you should find that you can still get everything accomplished that you need!
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