Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Sleep Healthy

How much sleep do you need? Here are some guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A good night of sleep can make a big difference in how you feel during your waking hours. And what you do during the day often makes a big difference in how well you sleep. Learn how your daily habits affect the quality of your sleep and how you can be sure to get your zz’s.

A good night’s sleep is extremely important to your health. It can help you be more energetic, productive and can even help protect against obesity and other chronic diseases. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but many report getting less. Here are some tips to make your sleep time more productive.

Set a schedule

Go to bed at about the same time each night, even on weekends. Choose a time when you normally feel tired. If you decide to change your bedtime, gradually do so over a few nights in small intervals of about 15 minutes.

You should also wake up about the same time each day. One way to tell if you’re getting enough sleep is if you wake naturally each day without an alarm. And if you need to make up for lost sleep time, try taking a short nap rather than sleeping late.

Have a relaxing bedtime routine

If you take time to relax before bedtime, you should have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. A calming bedtime routine also tells your mind and body that the day is drawing to an end.

Start by making your bedroom a sleep-friendly environment. Keep noise to a minimum if you can. If you need help in reducing noise, a fan or white noise machine can help. A slightly cool room is also conducive to sleep. Most people sleep best in a room that is about 65 degrees. Too warm or too cold temperatures can interrupt sleep. Also, comfort is key. If you often wake up sore or with other aches and pains, you may need to invest in a new mattress.

Eat healthy and exercise regularly

A healthy diet and regular exercise can greatly improve your quality of sleep. A healthy, balanced diet of fresh fruits, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy can provide an excellent foundation for good health. Also, regular exercise is known for helping to improve sleep habits. Other tips you may not be aware of include:

  • Avoid big meals at night – Rich, heavy foods are more difficult to digest and can keep you awake while spicy foods can cause heartburn.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed – While it may help you fall asleep faster, alcohol disrupts sleep quality and can cause you to wake up later in the night.
  • Cut down on caffeine – Caffeine can cause sleep problems up to 10-12 hours after drinking! So consider cutting off caffeine after lunch.
  • Avoid drinking lots of fluids – This can cause frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

What to do if you wake up during the night

It’s perfectly normal to wake briefly during the night. But if you’re waking up and having trouble going back to sleep, here is some advice:

  • Stay relaxed in bed and try not to think about other things. If you wake for longer than 15 minutes, try a quiet and non-stimulating activity like reading a book.
  • Keep lights dim and avoid electronics, which can interfere with your body clock.
  • A light snack or cup of tea may help, but try not to eat too much.

Healthy sleep habits are important for your health. Make sleep a priority tonight!

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