Bad sleep zaps more than just your mood—it affects your health too, so check out these sleeping remedies!

Think about how you feel after a good night’s sleep—full of energy, ready to perform and take on the day. And after a poor night of sleep? Sluggish, unable to concentrate and out of energy.

Poor sleep affects more than our mood. Studies show insufficient sleep can bring weight gain, hormonal disturbances, heart health risks and even safety risks. Sleep experts say you need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, although there are certainly individual variations. Modern life and plain old bad habits can change your daily sleep. Try these 6 tips for super sleep:

  • Go to bed! There’s always just one more thing to do—housework, one more email, or things to get a leg-up on tomorrow. If you struggle to stop your day, or you use your late night hours to get stuff done, take a tip from Elsa—let it go! You can’t go to sleep if you don’t go to bed, your productivity and efficiency actually goes up when you’re rested!
  • Stage your sleep. Keep your sleep space for just that. Sleep in a dark, cool room—close the shades, turn any lights and blinking devices off, and turn the thermostat down. This also means you’re not using your sleep space for an office or anything else that can clutter your mind when you’re trying to rest.
  • Disconnect! Surveys show most of us sleep with our smartphone within reach. But exposure to their bright light and the mental distractions of social media and email keep us from falling asleep. Does your phone buzz or beep every time you get a text, email or are tagged in a post? Use your phone’s powers for good: Mute it, set “do not disturb” time-frames for non-urgent contacts, and flip it face down on your nightstand to turn off its lights. Have your kids do the same as well to teach them good sleep habits.
  • Create a sleep pattern.It’s not easy but setting a pattern for sleep helps. A warm (not hot) bath, light reading, a time for reflective thought or music might be the trick for you. Your routine gives you the message that you value relaxing and resting as an important part of your day.
  • Cut the noise! Noise will keep you from falling and staying asleep. Falling asleep with a TV on is a definite no-no due to the variations in the sound and light. Instead, use a “white” noise device to distract from household sounds. There are apps that will play through the night or for a set period.
  • Set boundaries! Doesn’t it seem that life and work are getting busier? More people are reporting that work is an increasing intruder on their private time. If possible, have conversations in your workplace about how to create a culture that considers how to get work done while protecting reasonable personal boundaries. Aim for high standards of protected professional and personal time—you just might just inspire others to do the same!

Carolyn J. Lee, PhD, CNE, RN, is a nurse expert adviser to Healthy Mom&Baby.

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