While being active, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet are often touted as the keys to a healthy lifestyle, the amount and quality of your sleep is just as important.
Getting enough sleep provides valuable benefits for both our minds and bodies, as it can affect our immune system, appetite, hormone levels, blood pressure, and more.
As people age, falling asleep and staying asleep can become more of a struggle, and the prevalence of insomnia rises, as well. This can be caused by changes in circadian rhythms, hormone levels, lifestyle habits, or effects from medications.
However, sleep needs remain the same throughout adulthood—seven to nine hours per night. A lack of quality sleep each night can lead to reduced productivity, daytime sleepiness, depression, increased risk of obesity, and other health concerns.
There are certain practices you can follow to help fall asleep faster and get quality sleep each night:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Do not nap for longer than 20 minutes.
- Use your bed only for sleeping. Do not read, snack, or watch television in bed.
- Avoid nicotine and alcohol in the evenings.
- Talk to your doctor about medications that may be keeping you awake at night, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, and cardiovascular drugs.
Taking care of yourself at night can help your daytime hours be safer, healthier, and more enjoyable.