First of all it’s critical to Make Sleep a Priority—not a just “we’ll see.”

Over the last half a century, we have shaved off an average of two (precious) hours of sleep a night. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll this year, 40 percent of adults say they get less than seven hours of sleep during the week, compared with the seven to nine hours that are recommended.

Of course, most of us are aware of this. We burn the midnight oil, we get up early just to get things done. Our days are go, go, go! And it’s often hard to stay asleep once we get there.

Did you know?

Most of us know that too little sleep makes us cranky, less focused and less available to those who need us. You also need to be aware of this—
• Bodies deprived of sleep produce less leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone; this increases our craving for sweets and salty carbohydrates. Think weight gain here. Conversely, sleeping better could help with weight control.
• Shortened sleep produces metabolic changes. These may lead to diabetes or may alter the nervous system in a way that could contribute to high blood pressure and heart-rhythm irregularities. And, of course less sleep can make you feel more stressed out.
• Insomnia substantially increases the risk of developing depression.

In short, not getting enough rest can affect both our mental and physical health much more than we thought. Here are some DOs and DON’Ts that will help you get healthful, renewing sleep more frequently.

What You Should and Should Not Do

DO structure your sleep. Try to go to bed and arise at the same times every day. Irregular hours can throw off the internal biological clock. {I’m an early to bed, early to rise type. My friends laugh because I like to go to bed at 10 P.M., but this is how my internal clock works best. You need to determine what will work best for YOU!}.

DO create a soothing bedtime routine. Watching the news or reading the latest page-turner are not good sleep inducers. Meditation or soothing music helps to end the day.

DON’T work, eat or watch TV in bed. Keep your bedroom for sleep. DO keep it quiet, dark and cool, and your feet warm. However, within five minutes of waking, expose yourself to bright light. Also, wearing comfortable pajamas can help you sleep better and deal with night “sweats.” We searched long and hard to find our “O, So Soft!” Nice Shirts. (Be sure to get yours here. You’ll thank us!).

DON’T exercise or eat heavily within several hours of bedtime. Both energize the body. However, DO exercise in the late afternoon or early evening. This reduces tension and makes falling asleep easier. I also find that I get into a deeper sleep if I exercise.

DO avoid stimulants and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine, nicotine, sugary snacks and alcohol all can cause wakefulness.

DO head off potential anxieties at the bedroom door. Make lists of chores or tasks for the next day, and/or gather things you will need. (It’s like laying out your school clothes!) If worries keep you awake, write your concerns down and list possible solutions. When you “dump” things from your mind, it really does help.

DON’T look at your clock if you wake up in the night. Figuring how much sleep you’re missing intensifies the stress of insomnia, and may hinder you from falling back to sleep easily. Cover your clock, if you need to.

Let Us know how you do

Try these techniques along with your new nite shirt and let us know how much better you are sleeping!