SPOKANE, Wash. - Are you constantly pressing the snooze button when you wake up? Daydreaming of naps? And we aren't just talking Mondays.
Thirty-five percent of Americans do not get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Washington State University's Sleep and Performance Center in Spokane shared with KXLY 4 News one of the biggest reasons why is because of our phones and electronics that are infiltrating our bedrooms, making it impossible to shut off and hit the hay!
Research has shown the blue light that comes from our phones can delay melatonin release, the hormone that tells our bodies it's time for bed.
“There's also the issue of what you are looking at. If you are reading something that is really dramatic or if you are on social media and really fired up about something, then you try to immediately shut that off and try to go to bed, that's going to be really difficult too,” explained Devon Hansen from the WSU Sleep and Performance Center.
Hansen suggests creating a buffer zone before bed, where you ditch your electronics and engage in a relaxing activity like reading a book, knitting, yoga or a warm bath.
If you are really having trouble, always feeling tired or missing things at work, you might need to remove your phone or tablets from your room entirely. When notifications go off in the middle of the night and the blue light goes on, it can take you from a deep sleep to a light sleep.
If you are one of the 60 million Americans suffering from insomnia, you may need to do more than separate from your electronics.
While there is no precise cause of insomnia, there are a few things that make some people more susceptible than others. Insomnia becomes more prevalent in middle age, more so for women going through menopause. It's also more common in parents who need to wake up in the middle of the night of help their children. Unfortunately, those midnight wake-ups can lead to a chronic issue, disturbing your sleep long after the kids move out.
Devon added, “A lot of times people who have trouble sleeping which is completely normal, they try to spend extra time in bed to kind of give themselves more of an opportunity to sleep. That's actually really counter-intuitive. We recommend you only should be in bed when you are sleeping. Again because if you spend extra time in bed you are reinforcing it is a place you can just hang out, it's not a place where you sleep.”
If you do find yourself laying awake in the middle of the night, Devon recommends getting up and out of bed, moving in to a different room and reading a magazine until you find yourself tired again.
Other tips for improving your sleep include:
-cutting out caffeine after lunch
-investing in ear plugs if your surroundings are noisy
-keep your room dark, grab an eye mask if you need to keep a light on or need to go to sleep when it is still light out
-cooler temperatures can improve the quality of sleep, keep the thermostat at 65 degrees
-swap out the down comforter and pillows if you have allergies and make sure you keep your room as dust-free as possible. Nasal congestion can make sleeping a challenge!
-avoid working out before bedtime. Yoga and stretching is OK and can be helpful, but strenuous activities like running can make it harder for you to fall asleep.
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