If you’re not getting 7-to-8 hours of sleep a night, you’re not getting enough sleep! Sleep experts say many of us routinely sabotage our efforts to get more shut-eye. So, how do we fix the problem?!
Alex Dimitrijeski of Roseville decided to try some new tactics after three years of struggling to get enough rest each night.
"I just had trouble focusing at work, trouble thinking, trouble keeping on one task or multi-tasking or anything really. Being tired at the wheel was bad,” recalled Dimitrijeski.
And with an hour-long commute to work, this programmer got serious about getting more sleep.
- He does not have a TV in his bedroom.
- He has his main household lights on a timer using the C by GE app.
- He takes melatonin a half hour before bedtime to help wind down.
- He has a 15-pound weighted anxiety blanket on his bed.
“[The blanket] doesn’t hold you still, but it feels like a hug,” he explained.
But he admits that he still doesn’t get the 8 hours of sleep per night that he wants.
And, yes, he knows what is sabotaging his sleep.
“This right here is the problem!” he exclaimed, holding up his smartphone and shaking it in the air.
He can’t seem to resist checking social media, email, notifications, etc.
And he’s not alone.
Dr. Timothy Roehrs – a bioscientist with Henry Ford Health System’s Sleep Disorders Center – said checking your smartphone or social media right before bedtime derails the natural process of falling asleep.
“Get rid of it. Put it away,” said Dr. Roehrs emphatically referring to phones, tablets, and other devices. “[Put them] in another room definitely -- in another room, face down, turn it on mute."
He has more advice for those who are ready to increase their nightly sleep time.
DO’s FOR GETTING MORE SLEEP
- DO turn bedside clocks facedown.
- DO plan an hour-long routine to wind down.
- DO eliminate caffeine and alcohol 4-to-5 hours before bedtime.
- DO make an earlier bedtime goal a gradual one.
“[Plan for] a week or 2 with a 15-minute earlier bedtime. And then another 2 weeks of a 30-minute earlier bedtime,” said Dr. Roehrs.
He said you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel.
IF YOU WANT TO GET MORE SLEEP…DON’TS
- DON’T try to solve family issues or problems right before bedtime.
- DON’T watch TV that will get your heart-pounding or mind-turning.
- DON’T use the bed for anything other than sleeping and sex.
Dr. Timothy Roth – the Director of Henry Ford Health System’s Sleep Center said the number one thing to do to get more sleep is to make the commitment to get more sleep. Sound simple?
Well, Dr. Roth said many people just don’t make sleep a priority like losing weight or getting more exercise. But yet it is just as important for our health.
So, if you want to make the change, you have to be serious about hitting the hay earlier.
Of course, if you continue to have trouble going to bed or sleeping through the night, consult your doctor.