According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70% of adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night (1). Sadly, drowsy driving may be a factor in 20% of all serious motor vehicle crash injuries (2). As you can see, this is an important topic to discuss with your provider, especially for those who experience chronic sleep depravation and are considering taking a long trip for the holidays.
Here are a few tips for better sleep that may help you:
1) Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes daily, preferable more than four hours prior to bedtime. Exercise closer to bedtime stimulates some individuals making it more difficult to sleep.
2) Keep evening meals light and try to eat at least four hours before bedtime. Less work for your stomach results in better rest. Also, rising blood sugar will undermine the production of growth hormone, a compound that adults need to have to benefit from peak sleep rejuvenation.
3) Avoid screen time for at least one hour before going to bed. Screen time stimulates your brain.
4) Go to bed early. Restorative hormones, like growth hormone and melatonin, peak earlier in the night which means sleep before midnight is considered better than sleep after midnight.
5) Avoid caffeinated beverages. Even earlier in the day, caffeine may affect sleep by lowering melatonin levels.
6) Have a sleep routine. Your body does best if you give it cues to wind down. This may include listening to soothing music, praying, and reading inspirational material. Also, consider taking a warm bath or a hot shower.
May you enjoy abundant health,
Rick Christman, MPH
1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Perceived Insufficient Rest or Sleep Among Adults—United States, 2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 58:1179
2) Institute of Medicine. Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation: An unmet public health problem. Colten HR, Alteveogt BM, editors. ISBN:0-309-66012-2, 1–500. 2006. Washington, D.C., National Academies Press.