It’s being described as the next health hazard after junk food bingeing and sedentary living: chronic sleep deprivation.
At a major sleep conference in Boston this week, experts have been presenting a slew of studies blaming poor sleeping habits for everything from stroke to unhealthy eating and depression.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule
Be consistent with the times you go to bed and wake up to create a regular sleep pattern.
2. Follow a healthy diet
Aside from the obvious, including avoiding caffeine late at night, experts also say to refrain from going to bed hungry, overstuffed or after drinking too many liquids. If you’re peckish, reach for a banana, which is rich in potassium and has been shown to help facilitate a deeper sleep.
3. Try sleep accessories and eliminate distractions
While an eye mask, ear plugs, or a sound generator for white noise have been shown to help, laptops in bed and smartphones on the night table have not. Unplug the room and create a restful sleep environment.
4. Create a bedtime ritual
Wind down with a hot bath, a book or soothing music and stick to the same bedtime routine.
Regular physical exercise has been shown to enable a restful sleep.
6. Try meditation or relaxation techniques
Consider deep breathing exercises, yoga or tai chi to help you charge down.
7. Clear your mind
If you can’t sleep because your mind is too cluttered, air out your concerns by either writing them on paper or talking them out with a spouse, friend or therapist.
8. Seek medical help
Though you may think chronic sleep deprivation is just stress-related, it could also be caused by an underlying medical problem like sleep apnea.
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