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It seems like nobody is getting enough sleep these days.  This week, in honor of Sleep Awareness Week, study after study has highlighted the fact that the average adult gets less than 7 hours of sleep per night.

Lack of sleep can happen for many reasons including stress, anxiety, medical issues or simply hot having enough time in the day to”get it all done”.

One of the first steps toward a better night’s sleep (and all the great things that come from getting enough sleep consistently)  is often the creation of a better sleep environment.  By eliminating distractions in your bedroom, you can often start sleeping better right away.

Here are five places to start when making your bedroom into an ideal sleep environment.

1. Keep the Bedroom a Place of Rest: These days, many of us have notebook computers, wireless Internet, and other mobile devices that make it possible for us to transform any room into an office.

But if you suffer from a sleep disorder, make sure you keep your bedroom a bedroom – a place of rest away from work and play. Don’t allow the bedroom to become an office, a playroom, or a TV room. Those who suffer from sleep disorders need to eliminate all distractions in the form of noise, light, or activity.

2. Ideal Temperature: When creating a good sleep environment, you need to make sure you minimize any discomfort. Being too cold or too hot can disrupt a comfortable sleep and once disrupted (for a person with a sleep disorder) it may be difficult to get back into a deep slumber.

Keeping the room at a constant, ideal temperature will help you get and stay asleep. While it’s debatable as to what the best temperature is, it can be agreed upon that anything about 75 degrees Fahrenheit is too warm and anything below 54 degrees, too cold.

Try a median between 60–70 degrees (65) as a compromise, but the deciding factor should be you personally and what you find to be “ideal.” If you keep kicking the covers off or shivering yourself awake, adjust the temperature until it’s just right – and make note of what that number is for you.

3. Comfortable Bed: One symptom of a sleep disorder or impairment is tossing and turning during the night, and one reason you may be restless is because your mattress is uncomfortable.

As with most anything in life, what’s “right” for you (and your back, your posture, your comfort) is specific to your body. However, research has shown that supple mattresses may be more conducive to a good night’s rest versus a firmer one.

Definitely avoid sleeping on a lumpy mattress if it can be helped. A new mattress may be in order if you’ve outgrown your current one, either in size or comfort. If you have a spouse who prefers a different type of mattress, consider getting the type of bed where each of you set the mattress to your perfect number.

4. Keep the Clock Out of Sight: If you can, try to keep your clock out of sight. Set your alarm and then put it somewhere else or turn it away from you – out of your general view. For instance, instead of having the clock on the nightstand, put it on the dresser in the far corner.

If a clock is visible, you may find yourself staring at it or waking up periodically to look at it. If you’re making an effort to create a good sleep environment, it means that you’re aware of an impairment.

If you’re trying to break the cycle of sleeplessness, then it’s important that you don’t focus on time. Seeing how early it is or how little time has passed, can only lead to frustration.

5. No Lights: Remember that a dark bedroom can help your body “know” it’s time for rest. Light triggers a lot in us and is associated with our waking hours. To help the body adjust to a regular sleep cycle, make an effort to distinguish between daytime and bedtime

When it’s time to sleep, keep light sources to a minimum, including when you get up to go to the bathroom. As with a TV, computer, or video game, you’ll want to avoid anything that can stimulate your brain or body out of rest. Even if your eyes are closed, light in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep.

If you start with these steps, you may find yourself getting more sleep each and every night.

In honor of National Sleep Week, I am offering free sleep screenings.  Sign up using the box to the right of this post.

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Do you catch up on Facebook or check your e-mail right before going to bed? You are not alone…

A study released on Monday indicated that people in the United States are losing sleep over their late night television watching and social media activities. You can read more about the National Sleep Foundation study here.

According to the study, 95% of us play video games, watch television or use smartphones or laptop computers right before going to bed.

Spending that last hour before bed staring at the light from your monitor or smartphone makes getting to sleep more difficult because the light supresses the release of sleep-producing melatonin and makes you more alert.

According to the study, 43 percent of people ages 13 to 64 felt they rarely or never got a decent night’s sleep during the work week.

Cutting back on gadget use an hour before bedtime will help you relax and get  a better night’s sleep.

Stay tuned for more tips tomorrow on how to create a bedroom environment conducive to sleep (yes, kicking the computer out of the bedroom is a good start…)

In honor of Sleep Awareness week, I am offering free sleep screenings on Friday, March 11.  Fill out the form on the right side of this page to schedule your appointment.

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