When we don’t sleep well, our waking lives suffer. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night for health and mental alertness. Unfortunately, most Americans get only between five and seven hours. This leads to problems concentrating, forgetfulness, increased irritability, increased risk of physical injury and increased healing times. In the long term, sleep deprivation increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, anxiety and depression.
Maintain a sleep schedule. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every night (including weekends, if you have trouble sleeping.)
Cut down on caffeine and alcohol. Both can impede your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Make your bedroom a sleep oasis. 69% of Americans say bedroom temperature strongly impacts their ability to sleep well. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet for the best sleep.
Exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly (most days every week) report better quality sleep. There is also some evidence that regular exercise can improve the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), which can impair sleep for some.
Don’t read or watch backlit screens at least one hour before sleep. The artificial light shining from backlit screens can inhibit the production of melatonin, a hormone your body produces to get you ready for sleep.
Turn off your ringer (or better yet, put your phone in another room) at night. The urge to stay connected and even the sound of text messages can disrupt your sleep. In addition, a 2008 study funded by major mobile phone makers themselves showed that people exposed to mobile radiation took longer to fall asleep and spent less time in deep sleep.