Did you know over 1/3 of us aren't getting enough sleep?
Yes, that's right. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 34.8% of Americans are sleeping less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night. The CDC also reported that sleep deprivation is related to greater insulin resistance, metabolic abnormalities, and weight gain - which might in turn be linked to diabetes and heart disease.
If you're one of those people suffering from lack of proper sleep, rest assured there are simple things you can do to sleep better - and feel better. Here are 3 easy steps for better sleep, brought to you by science.
Avoid sugary beverages. In a study of 18,000 adults by UCSF students, it was found that people who sleep less than 5 hours per night are significantly more likely to drink sugary beverages. The lead author of the study, Aric A. Prather, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UCSF, stated, "We think there may be a positive feedback loop where sugary drinks and sleep loss reinforce one another, making it harder for people to eliminate their unhealthy sugar habit." It appears that sugary drinks and sleep loss can be a vicious cycle. Yikes!
Stay hydrated. When you are asleep, you aren't hydrating, so it's key to sufficiently hydrate during the day. A study by Sleep Medicine found that dehydration during sleep negatively affects our cognitive performance - even after we wake up. Furthermore, The Sleep Center at UCLA recommends that you limit your intake of fluid s90 minutes before going to sleep, as it takes about 90 minutes for the body to process your liquids. So staying hydrated (without sugar) is key, whether awake or asleep.
Mindfulness before bed. Give yourself time to wind down and calm your mind. Says Dr. Herbert Benson, Director Emeritus of the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, "Mindfulness... is just one of a smorgasbord of techniques that evoke the relaxation response." A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that simply taking a mindfulness awareness course, focusing on breathing and awareness of the present, helped patients struggling with sleep. The participants of the study showed less fatigue, insomnia, and depressoin at the end of their mindfulness course - and as a result, they slept better too.