Nearly 70 million Americans struggle with some kind of sleep disorder and this time of year it can be particularly difficult for anyone to get healthy amounts of rest. It can take up to a week to adjust to Daylight Saving Time and get back on track with a regular sleep cycle. Likewise Seasonal Effective Disorder can have its toll on one’s mood and sleeping pattern since there’s an imbalance of Serotonin and Melatonin caused by shorter nights and longer days that naturally come with the fall and winter months. Those two chemicals regulate the body’s sleep cycle, mood, and energy level.
A lack of sleep can contribute to:
- Weight Gain
- Brain fogginess during the day
- Inability to focus
- Increased likelihood of getting sick
- Higher risk of heart disease
Improving Your Sleep
Try the following to get better rest at night:
- Stick to your schedule: Go to bed and wake up the same times each day (including weekends)
- Work out every day: 20 to 30 minutes each day will help you sleep at night
- Avoid caffeine after lunch and alcohol before bed
- Unwind with a relaxing, routine activity shortly before bed: Yoga, reading, taking a bath
- Make your bedroom sleep-friendly: Avoid bright lights, don’t have the TV on, have on a red spectrum light
- Don’t lie in bed awake: Read or listen to music until you feel tired
If nothing else, see a sleep specialist, as most sleep disorders can be treated effectively and will result in improved health overall.