If you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep or find it difficult to get your recommended eight hours every night, you are not alone. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that nearly 30 million adults experience occasional sleep problems. Also, two out of five adults report they regularly sleep less than seven hours on weeknights.

Sleep issues may lead to health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. “Lack of sleep can also negatively affect your emotions, memory, decision-making skills and physical health,” said Fooroogh Ostovari, MD, a primary care physician with Adventist Medical Group. “Managing and improving your sleeping habits can help you improve all areas of your well-being.”

The first step to a good night’s sleep is a healthy sleeping environment. Make sure your bedroom is well-ventilated and a comfortable temperature. While many of us are tempted to let our pets sleep with us, consider having pets stay outside of your sleeping area instead.

Your bedtime routine is also important for good sleep. Commit to a regular sleep/wake schedule, even on the weekends. A consistent schedule will help avoid disruptions to your sleep during the week.  “Before bed, set aside time to clear your mind. Develop a relaxation ritual, such as meditation or soothing music, to end each day,” Dr. Ostovari said. “Also, avoid caffeinated beverages late in the day.”

A good night’s sleep is crucial to overall health and well-being. Contact your doctor if you have trouble sleeping at night for longer than four weeks or if your sleep patterns interfere with your daytime activities and ability to function.

Free Apps for Better Sleep

  • Relax Melodies: Combines relaxing music and sounds with mindfulness meditation to help you fall asleep.
  • Sleep Cycle: Analyzes your sleep using the built-in microphone to pick up your movements and determine the optimal time to wake you up.
  • Good Morning Alarm: This sleep tracker wakes you based on sleep activity and targeted wake time. It also has a white noise generator help you fall asleep.

Sources: National Sleep Foundation. Medical News Today Lifework Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resources