Before Night Falls, Prepare
Do you get too little sleep? If so, you’re not alone. The CDC says 35% of adults in the U.S. don’t get the recommended seven hours or more per night.
Maybe you’re out every night at an after-hours club, but more likely you’re trying to squeeze in just one more episode of Stranger Things. Whatever the reason, getting too little sleep is a problem—and not just because it makes you a chore to be around. It leads to lowered immune function, elevated depression and anxiety levels, and memory problems, says Dr. Michael Breus, clinical psychologist and sleep specialist.
It’ll also make you heavy! Tired people exercise less and make poor food choices. Well, then it’s time to hit the hay.
Technology can be both a help and a hindrance in this area, says sleep researcher Dr. Els van der Helm. “One way in which it’s hurting our sleep is through the rise of smartphones that allow us to be connected 24/7 with the world around us,” she says. Turn your phone off an hour before bedtime, and absolutely never check messages in bed. Doing so raises your dopamine and adrenaline levels.
But technology can also come to the rescue. Van der Helm recommends mattresses that adjust their temperature and sleep coaching apps. Breus likes the SleepScore Max tracking device, which he says is more accurate than the others.
Get the right amount of sleep each night and you can break up with your rude alarm clock and wake up naturally. Train yourself to sleep on a strict schedule every day (even weekends) and wake just before your alarm. Getting in the rhythm, Breus says, should take about two weeks.