Did you know that sleep deprivation affects roughly about 60 million Americans each year and is caused by a number of things, such as too much stress and an unbalanced diets. Let it be known that not getting enough sleep at night, will cause a number of detrimental consequences. Some of these include the inability to focus on cognitive tasks, heart problems, lack of energy, and weight gain.
Getting extra sleep is more important for those that workout because sleep allows your body to recover from tough and strenuous workouts, and preps your body for the next high-endurance activity. And when you cut your sleep short, your performance most definitely takes a hit.
Looking for a few tips to help you fall asleep faster at night? Check out these tips that WebMD offers to help you sleep better.
- Cut caffeine. The effects of caffeine can take as long as eight hours to wear off, so cut it out at least four to six hours before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol as a sleep aid. Although alcohol may initially help you fall asleep, it also causes disturbances in sleep resulting in a less restful slumber.
- Relax before bedtime. Develop some kind of pre-sleep ritual to break the connection between all the day’s stress and bedtime.
- Exercise at the right time for you. The timing of exercise seems to play a key role in its effects on sleep. If exercise gives you an energy spike, then it may be more beneficial to work out in the morning instead of the evening.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and comfortable. Use earplugs, window blinds, an electric blanket–whatever it may be–to create an ideal sleeping environment.
- Eat right, sleep tight. Don’t go to bed hungry, but avoid heavy meals before bedtime. Some foods can help, though. Milk contains tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that may help induce sleep include tuna, halibut, pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, eggs, bok choy, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, buckwheat, and bananas.
- Restrict nicotine. Although a cigarette may have seemingly calming effects, it actually puts a stimulant into your bloodstream that may leave you tossing and turning a little longer.
- Avoid napping. Napping often perpetuates insomnia; however, if you must nap, keep it short. A brief 15-20 minute cat nap can actually be rejuvenating, late in the day.
- Avoid watching TV, eating, and discussing emotional issues in bed. If not, you can end up associating the bed with distracting activities that could make it difficult for you to fall asleep.