Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

SleepWhat does the end of daylight saving time mean for you? If you answered, “A chance to finally catch up on sleep!”—you might need to reevaluate your nighttime slumber routine. You should be getting seven or eight hours of shut-eye every night, not just that one special night in November.

Move More, Sleep More
Brisk walking and other moderate-to-vigorous physical activities can boost the quality and length of your sleep at night.

Both early morning and afternoon workouts can improve your nighttime sleep. Evening exercise is a little trickier. Some people may be able to work out at night without problems. If that’s you, don’t change your routine. For most people though, strenuous workouts late in the evening are likely to delay falling asleep. Replace evening exercise with simple stretches or yoga to relax and prepare for bed.

Fuel Your Slumber
Having caffeine and foods that cause heartburn at night can hurt your efforts to sleep. So can sugary treats and white bread. Instead, try oatmeal or nut butter on whole-wheat crackers. The National Sleep Foundation also suggests these snacks:

  • Almonds or walnuts: Eating these nuts can help you sleep more soundly thanks to the hormone melatonin.
  • Cottage cheese with fresh raspberries: Ward off low serotonin levels with the amino acid in this lean protein. The berries offer another dose of melatonin.
  • Kiwi fruit: Two of these little guys before bed can increase how long you sleep by an hour over the course of the month if you have insomnia.

Small changes to your habits can help with many sleep problems. But reach out to your provider if you continue to struggle. Share your symptoms and past efforts to sleep better. Bring your current medications to your visit. Together, you can find and treat the cause.

In Search of a Few Good Z’s
For many people, following these tips can help them feel well-rested. But if weeks go by and you’re still fatigued, you may have an underlying sleep disorder. To find a sleep specialist, go to Find a Doctor.