September 1st, 2022
Endless nights of poor sleep can take a toll on your health and may increase your risk of heart disease. Otherwise healthy people who get too little or too much sleep, or who have a poor quality of sleep, can show early markers of heart disease, according to a study published by the American Heart Association. The study joins earlier research that found people who typically get less than 6 hours of sleep nightly are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
According to researchers, 50% of adults report occasional insomnia and 20% have chronic sleep troubles. If you are among those who find it hard to get a good night’s sleep, here are 5 strategies that can help you naturally sleep better:
- Keep a diary. Record when you go to bed, the number of times you wake up and how you feel in the morning for about 2 weeks. Also note food, activity and exercise patterns before bed – including what you eat or do and when. This will help you identify patterns affecting your sleep.
- Change your ways. Once you’ve identified what is negatively affecting your sleep, make some changes to your daily habits. For example, you may want to nix the caffeine after 2 pm or exercise earlier in the day.
- Take time to unwind. Your body needs time to move from a state of activity to a more relaxed state. Pick up your favorite magazine or dive into a book at the end of the day. Dim the lights and listen to soothing music. Reduce or eliminate electronic use close to bedtime.
- Establish a schedule. A regular sleep schedule keeps your body’s clock steady. Stick with your routine as much as possible, even on weekends.
- Ease back into slumber. If you wake up during the night, lie in the dark, relax your body and breathe deeply. If after a few minutes, it stresses you out to lie awake, get out of bed and do something calming in dim light until you feel drowsy again.
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