Sleep loss is linked to a slew of medical and mental health issues, including: Cancer, Diabetes, Dementia, and Heart Disease.
Dr. Matthew Walker, a professor of neuropsychology at the University of California, Berkeley, has focused his research on the impact that sleep has on human health and disease. In his 2017 book; Why We Sleep, Walker discusses how sleep is our best friend.
Stick to a sleep schedule
This means weekends too! Sleeping in late on the weekends only interrupts the pattern you have spent the week nailing down. Schedule your sleep schedule and stick to it.
Don’t exercise too late in the day
Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed
If alcohol is present in your system before going to bed, it will interrupt your REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep.
Don’t nap after 3 pm
Although naps can be a great pick-me-up, taking them too late in the day, or napping too long￼ can make it hard to fall asleep at night.
Scheduling in time to relax before bed is a great way to prep your body to unwind before falling to sleep.
Take a hot bath
If you like aromatherapy, include lavender and chamomile, which are natural sleep inducers.
Turn off screens
Cell phones, televisions, and computers can be a major distraction if used before bed. The light they emit, especially the blue light, suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep/wake cycle which increases in the evening.
Get outdoor time
Sun exposure during the day helps to regulate sleeping patterns. It’s recommended to soak in the sun at least 30 minutes a day.
Don’t stay in bed if you can’t sleep
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy, like reading a book.
(Painting, Gerrit Dou)