Five ways to get a good night’s sleep

Do you have a hard time getting a good night's sleep? You are not alone. In actual fact, two thirds of adults in the United States are also unable to clock up the recommended hours. Here are our top tips to help you to sleep well and feel wide awake the next day.

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The amount of sleep you need changes as you age, but generally, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of good quality sleep per day. Sleep plays a significant role in your health and well-being as well as protecting your physical health, mental health, quality of life, and safety.

Sleep can be a deal-breaker between having good health and poor health.

Sufficient sleep improves learning, keeps you alert, helps you to make decisions, helps to maintain heart health and hormone balance, and protects your immune system.

In contrast, sleep deficiency has been linked to risk-taking behavior, depression, and an increased risk of obesity and diabetes, and it claims more than 800 lives per year due to fatigue-related vehicle accidents.

The National Sleep Foundation define good sleep quality as:

  • sleeping for at least 85 percent of the total time you are in bed
  • drifting off to sleep in under 30 minutes
  • waking up no more than once in the night
  • being awake for under 20 minutes from when you first fall asleep

You are not doomed to toss and turn eternally. While you may not be able to control all the factors that interfere with your sleep, your daily behaviors and habits can be changed to encourage better sleep, which is reportedly as beneficial to health and happiness as winning the lottery.

Here are our tips to help you to improve your sleep and put the bounce back in your step.

1. Stick to a sleep schedule

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day – even on the weekends.

Our bodies have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm, which tends to coincide with the cycle of daytime and night-time. Your circadian rhythm, or sleep/wake cycle, is on a 24-hour loop that cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.

Your circadian rhythm works best with regular sleep habits, such as keeping the same bed time and wake up time. Factors such as daylight savings time, jet lag, or staying up late to watch your favorite television show can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make you feel cranky, as well as disrupt your ability to concentrate.

Recent research has shown that sleep regularity is associated with higher levels of morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness during the week, while irregular sleeping patterns are linked to poorer academic performance, delayed sleep and wake timings, and a delay in the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.

If you struggle with sleep, try sticking to the same sleep routine and you may find that after a while, you may no longer need an alarm.