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How to Ace Your Sleep Needs Every Night

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us merely dream of getting all of the sleep we really need. Some nights, when everything is relatively calm, we may drift off for a solid night's sleep. Other nights, when the day has been pressurized and we have stayed up late for a favorite show, plus snack, our sleep may suffer a lot.

Getting those needed 7 to 9 hours of sleep can make all of the difference the next day, as we field calls, figure out deadlines, and strive to keep our families on target. Creativity drops, stress spikes, memory suffers and new aches and pains often emerge.

Overall, doctors warn loss of sleep can also up the risk for rapid heart rate, heart disease and stroke. It can undercut your immune system too.

Dr. Amit Narula, Carroll Hospital, Westminster Maryland, says waking up briefly at night is normal, but when you wake up for lengthy periods over eight hours, it is considered interrupted sleep, which stops the body from getting enough deep sleep.

Turning everything around with some better sleep habits could mean better job performance, more relaxed interaction with your family, and an overall health boost for your mind and body.

Get a grip on your sleep with these steps.

Make your bedroom a sleep refuge - Kick out the treadmill, sewing machine and assorted other stuff and add light-blocking drapes and an air filter to screen out noise.

Go to bed the same time every night - Try getting up at the same time too, even on weekends. Help your body establish a normal sleep routine.

Skip spicy food, alcohol and nicotine - Dial everything back close to bedtime and avoid midnight snacks.

Move the TV, smart phone and tablets out - Shut all electronics down at least two hours before bedtime. Skip all of those blue lights and let your body rest.

Keep a sleep journal - Track your good and bad nights and create a sleep log to help your doctor assess your sleep.

Check your bedding - Eliminate lumpy aging mattresses or pillows and add comfortable sheets and blankets.

Opt for soft sleepwear - Choose loose natural fiber knits in non-binding styles.

Write it down - Make a short list before bedtime to eliminate all of those worries about tomorrow.

If you still have sleep issues after upgrading your sleep habits, see your doctor to find out what else may be needed.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mesa, Ariz.

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