Good sleep is fundamental for good health. Sleep is necessary for the body to restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and regulate hormones. However, the constant stimulus in today’s society has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to go to sleep. Within the last 30 years, the number of Americans that don't get enough sleep has grown to the tens of millions. It is estimated that by the mid 21st century over 100 million Americans will have difficulty falling asleep. If sleep is so important why aren't Americans getting enough of it?.
Sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, can directly hinder your sleep. Underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity can also make it difficult to get a good night of rest. Yet, the biggest reason most Americans can't get good sleep is because of poor sleeping habits! With a few simple lifestyle changes, getting a good night of rest is achievable.
So how do you practice good sleep hygiene? Incorporating exercise (as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise) into your daily routine can help improve the quality of your sleep. Avoiding naps in the afternoon and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can also improve your sleep and help reset your internal clock. Still not sleepy? Try to steer clear of doing work or watching TV in your bed. Associating your bed with non-sleep activities can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
The last habit that is crucial for good sleep is getting off your phone before bed. This is easier said than done, but it's important! Countless studies have shown that the blue light given off from electronics messes with the body's circadian rhythm, making it difficult to go to sleep. On top of that, the stimulus we receive from using electronics activates the brain and makes it harder to wind down for bed.
Each person is different so not all of these things may work for you. The important thing is that you should try to take conscious steps to improve your sleep and get the rest and recovery your body needs.