This week’s Balance Your Life™ tip focuses on the importance of sleep when it comes to reenergizing and balancing your life!
Poor sleep quality and short sleep is prevalent amount adults, according to StatsCan. A study that was released in September of 2017 used the following guidelines as a benchmark for testing:
· 7-9 hours of sleep per night for ages 18-64
· 7-8 hours of sleep per night for ages 65 or older
In the six-year period that the study was conducted, results showed that Canadians aged 18-64 averaged 7.12 hours of sleep per night, and about 15% of seniors slept longer than the 8 hour maximum. (part of this could be attributed to other medical conditions)
The study also noted:
· 1/3 of Canadians sleep fewer hours per night than recommended for optimal physical and mental health
· 43% of men in the 18 to 64 age group reported trouble going to sleep or staying asleep “sometimes/most of the time/all of the time”
· 55% of women in the 18 to 64 age group reported trouble going to sleep or staying asleep “sometimes/most of the time/all of the time”
· The 18 to 64 age group also experience poor sleep quality more frequently than do those who sleep the recommended number of hours
The results are concerning, because lack of sleep (both duration and quality) are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, death from all causes, depression, irritability and reduced well-being, researchers said.
There are some ways to help ensure you get some longer and better rest:
· Power down – Turn off tv’s, computers, and other blue-light sources an hour before you go to bed. Cover any displays you can’t shut off
· Nix naps – Overcome an afternoon energy slump with a short walk, a glass of ice water, or a phone call with a friend
· Block your clock – Put your alarm clock in a drawer, under your bed, or turn it away from view, so you can’t check the time in the night. This can make your mind race, thinking about what you have to do the next day.
· Try a leg pillow for back pain – Do you sleep on your back? Tuck a pillow under your knees to east any back pain.
· Put your neck in “neutral” – Make sure your pillow aligns with the natural curve of your neck, to help keep it straight.
· Set your body clock – Try to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day, even on weekends. This routine will get your brain and body used to being on a healthy schedule.
· Look for hidden caffeine – Try to avoid foods containing any caffeine after noon.
· Work out – Regular exercise helps you sleep better, as long as you don’t get high intensity workouts in too close to bedtime. Gentle mind/body exercises like yoga or tai-chi are great, however, just before you hit the sack.
· Eat right at night – Don’t eat heavy foods or big meals too late. They overload your digestive system, which can affect how you sleep. Finish eating at least an hour before bed.
· Rethink your drink – Alcohol right before bed can affect your sleep through the night; a better choice is warm milk or chamomile tea.
· Avoid too much fluids – Try not drinking anything 2 hours before bedtime; it should help you not have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
· Lower the lights – Dim all lights around your home 2-3 hours before bedtime. Use a 15-watt bulb if you read in the last hour before bed.
· White noise – Use a fan, air conditioner or white noise app or machine to help drown out the usual house creaks and noises.
· Free your mind – Put aside any work, touchy discussions or complicated decisions 2-3 hours before bed. It takes time to turn off the “noise” of the day.
This Balance Your Life™ tip is brought to you by Belmont Health & Wealth. Contact us today for information on group retirement, group employee benefits, personal savings and insurance and even wellness strategies!