March is National Sleep Awareness Month! Although many people enjoy sleep, we rarely get a sufficient amount. In fact, only 67% of adults and 22% of high school students get adequate sleep. On top of this, 3 out of 5 people are light sleepers. We need to do better!
Follow these tips for better sleep:
- Get about 20-30 minutes of sunlight in the morning and avoid blue light from tablets/computers/phones 2 hours before bed.
- Avoid bed time snacks that involve sugar.
- Use soothing scents like lavender, rose, sandalwood, and cedarwood.
- Stay hydrated!
- Take a hot bath/shower approximately 90 minutes before bed.
- Avoid caffeine consumption in the afternoon/evening.
- Avoid long naps during the day.
Let’s talk naps! What are the benefits? When should you nap? How long should you nap?
Afternoon naps between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. can help your brain rest from thoughts during the day and can improve cognitive function. Napping for 10 – 30 minutes between these times, especially if you’re 60 years or older, can be very beneficial. BUT– if you are taking prolonged afternoon naps this could indicate you are not getting enough sleep at night… Again, we need to be better at this!
If you snooze, you lose!
That’s right! Studies have shown that more sleep means weight loss over time. Increasing your sleep time by just 1.5 hours each night is linked to reducing calorie intake by 270 calories each day. Going to bed earlier prevents late night snacking. With adequate sleep comes clearer thoughts, meaning you are able to choose better foods to fuel your body with. Sleep has an impact on appetite-regulating hormones. Without sufficient sleep, your body will try to make up for lost energy by needing food, causing overeating.
All in all, sleep more! It is good for you, your body, and mind!