Do you get enough sleep?

Published Apr 29, 2018 at 9:00am

Some of us worry about our sleep patterns. However, worrying does not make it any better.

In order to sleep better, we need to develop a good attitude about sleeping and change some of our habits. 

Everything that is good for your health is good for sleeping, so the first step to better sleep is getting regular exercise – walk a mile a day.

That amount of walking, easy enough to achieve, makes a huge difference for your health.

Yet 80 percent of Americans do not meet this standard. Spring is a good time to develop a new exercise program.

• How much do you weigh? Being overweight interferes with sleep. Even if you are not officially overweight, if your tummy is large, it can make breathing difficult.

Try losing 10-20 pounds and see if your sleep improves. If you are overweight and you snore and sleep badly, you might benefit from a sleep study, because you may have sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor about that.

• Stop drinking alcohol. We no longer see any health benefit from drinking and we see many, many reasons not to drink. Alcohol makes us unsafe drivers and unpleasant companions.

Alcohol also makes depression worse and it does not help us sleep. It may make us fall asleep, but it doesn’t give us a peaceful night’s sleep.

Also try to wean yourself off of sleeping pills. Ideally, they should not be necessary.

• Is the environment conducive to sleeping? Don’t watch television in bed, don’t get involved in arguments in the evening. Keep the room dark and a little on the cool side.

Do you get up to go to the bathroom? Almost everyone does, as we age. Make sure there’s a night light in the bathroom.

• Do you worry at night? Worrying, for most of us, involves feeling bad about something in the past or feeling pessimistic about something in the future.

When you are awake, you can usually avoid dwelling on these subjects. Lying awake at night, they may spin through your head and make you anxious and restless.

You need to find a way to set your worries aside. Explore this subject by finding information on the internet, or in a library or bookstore.

Look up Mindfulness. Read several different articles with suggestions to help you sleep and see if you learn new ways to ease your mind at night. 

Sleeping is a natural process and all of us fall into a sleep mode part of each 24-hour cycle. You need to aim for 8 hours of sleep.

It is normal to wake up occasionally, but it’s important to figure out how to get back to sleep quickly. A good night’s sleep is beneficial to your health.