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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

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are-you-getting-enough-sleepFeeling exhausted lately? It could be because you need to catch more zZz's at night. Here are tips to get better sleep!

There's no doubt we are not getting enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 20 percent of Americans report that they get less than six hours of sleep on the average, and rates are decreasing for Americans reporting sleeping at least eight hours.  

Recommendations for minimum amounts of sleep for children and toddlers range between 9-11 hours per night, plus naps. Adults should get 7-8 hours. But, the real question is: does it matter where you sleep?

Should You Sleep on the Floor?

Many people with back pain swear by sleeping on the floor. They claim the support helps them align their posture better, which may be true. Although I couldn't find sound research in any journal, I did find many people who claim they felt better. They didn't fear falling out of bed and surprisingly felt like sleeping on the floor was an adventure. However, with all the hype around body forming and adjustable mattresses, there is little research to prove that these modalities for sleep are better, but the answers are in the sleepers.

If you're looking to get a better night's rest, maybe where you sleep isn't as important as your bedtime rituals. Here are five tips on how to sleep sounder through the night.

5 Tips for Better Sleep

  1. Turn off your phone, lights, TV, and any other electrical input next to your bed. The electrical currents are thought to put additional stress on your brain waves. Plus, you don't need to connect with social media or friends while you're trying to sleep.
  2. Warm baths are great for kids as well as adults. But, as we age we forgot how wonderful these can calm the body to relax and settle in. Try taking a warm bath with epsom salts to decrease inflammation and calm the body.
  3. Got milk? Believe it or not, a warm glass of milk can help you get some ZZzzzz's! The thought is that milk contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid found in milk and turkey. Tryptophan, in large, does produce drowsiness, but one glass may not be enough to knock you out. However, one glass can stabilize blood sugar with it's protein to allow you to sleep better. 
  4. Journal! Write down your thoughts and reflections for that day. It may help calm the mind and de-stress from your day. There is research which shows that a five minute journal entry a day can add 10 percent more years to your life.
  5. Supplement. Taking herbal supplements like melatonin, kava or valerian may help you sleep better. Although there is a cumulative effect, meaning you'll have to take these supplements for a few days to weeks before you feel the benefits, there is research to back up the claims. As with any supplement not regulated by the FDA, the amount of the actual herb may vary.

If you're having trouble sleeping, try a few of these tips to see what works. Even the smallest changes can make a big difference.

Check out my website for more health and fitness tips! 

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