I didn’t need Mayo Clinic to tell me I was sleep deprived. The crankiness, forgetfulness, public napping and new obsession with Clear Eyes were all the signs I needed.
It’s been a long two months. Thankfully, the grisly work project that was keeping me up is over and I’m ready to sleep. Specifically, I’m ready to start claiming the same deep, rapturous Zzzz’s that I’ve been watching my cat Penelope enjoy.
I need to figure out how to get the best sleep. And apparently so does the rest of America.
The Sleep in America poll for 2011 revealed that 43% of Americans rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights. 60% say they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night (i.e., snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early, or feeling un-refreshed when they get up in the morning).
It sounds like we could all use some tips for falling asleep faster and getting better sleep.
Before-bed rituals seem to either make or break the night, so let’s start there. Here’s how the experts say we can get the kind of sleep we’ve been dreaming about:
Exercise daily. “Fatigue is the best pillow,” Benjamin Franklin said. Often we exhaust our minds but not our bodies, and hit the hay with pent up energy. Regular exercise is a great way to earn sound sleep. (Don’t forget to consider the best time of day to exercise)
The biggest challenge of ‘sleep prep’ is booking that extra hour to get ready for bed. It’s hard enough ending the day’s tasks in time to eke out 7-8 hours, and now we need 9?
But when I consider that I’m buying extra productivity tomorrow—not to mention evading weight gain, diabetes, crankiness and an early death—it suddenly gets easier to call it a day at 11pm instead of 12.