A good night of sleep is very important to our overall health and ability to function effectively throughout the day. Most adults need eight hours of sleep for peak alertness and energy. However, when our lives become busy, sleep becomes less of a priority for many of us. William Dement, MD, PhD, Dean of Sleep Disorders Research and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University states: "Americans have gotten the message that good nutrition and plenty of exercise are important for your health, but we have not paid enough attention to the third pillar of good health, which is adequate sleep."
Recommendations to improve the quality of your sleep:
- Establish relaxing pre-sleep routines. It is very important to incorporate time to "wind down" from your daily activities.
- Avoid large meals just before bedtime. Large meals can keep the digestive system active and disrupt your sleep
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulants within four hours of bedtime. A calm quiet setting is important to restful sleep.
- Minimize light, use of television or "screens", noise, and temperature extremes in the bedroom.
- Avoid strenuous exercise within two hours of bedtime.