By Anna “Annie” Dagg, MD, family medicine physician
Our sleep habits can affect every area of our lives, and for most of us, our lack of sleep is killing us. Studies show that a chronic lack of sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, memory loss and even the common cold.
So how can you stop worrying, improve your sleep and start getting some good rest? Here are 3 easy things you can do to start sleeping better:
1. Sleep is a habit, just like so many of the other things we do. Set yourself up for success by giving your body a routine to follow before bedtime. Something as simple as brushing your teeth, changing into pajamas and turning off the lights can signal to your body that it’s time for bed. Try to go to bed at about the same time every night, even on weekends.
2. Turn off your electronics 30-60 minutes before bedtime. The blue light from our smartphones, tablets, televisions and computer screens actually suppress your body’s natural ability to release melatonin, the hormone that makes you drowsy. Avoid the use of these devices for the last hour before bedtime and keep these devices out of the bedroom.
3. Get moving! Routine daily exercise improves both nighttime sleep and daytime energy. Whether it’s working in your garden, going for a brisk walk with a friend or hitting the gym, aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, even when practicing smart sleep practices, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider at 620-792-2511.