LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — March is National Sleep Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of U.S. adults routinely sleep fewer than six hours a night. That’s bad news because the benefits of adequate sleep range from better heart health and less stress to improved memory and weight loss. 

QualChoice has 10 natural ways to get more sleep.

DEVELOP A SLEEP ROUTINE

  • Sleep is one of the three pillars of health: sleep, diet and exercise.
  • Sleep helps with your overall mood, stronger immunity and gives you clearer thinking.
  • Be consistent. Going to bed at the same time every night even on weekends, holidays, and other days off helps to establish your internal sleep clock.
  • 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. For adults 18-60 it’s recommended that we get 7 or more hours of sleep per night.

    GET SOME EXERCISE
  • Regular exercise helps you sleep better.
  • Be sure to wrap up your workout session several hours before bedtime so that you’re not too revved up to get a good night’s sleep.

CHANGE YOUR DIET

  • Cut out the food and drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate, by mid-afternoon.
  • Make dinner your lightest meal and finish it a few hours before bedtime.

DON'T SMOKE

  • Nicotine is a stimulant, just like caffeine. Tobacco can keep you from falling asleep and make insomnia worse.
  • Smoking also makes sleep apnea worse, which can make it difficult to get restful sleep.

SAY NO TO A NIGHTCAP

  • Alcohol can make you sleepy at bedtime, but beware. After its initial effects wear off, it will make you wake up more often overnight.
  • Warm milk and chamomile tea are better choices.

    POWER DOWN
  • Light from electronic devices stimulates the brain, making it harder to wind down.
  • Put your gadgets away an hour before bedtime to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly.

    HOG THE BED
  • Everyone deserves their own sleeping space, so keep the pets out of your bed.
  • 53 percent of pet owners who sleep with their pets, experience sleep disruption every night. 2

    KEEP IT TEMPERATE, NOT TROPICAL
  • 80 degrees may be great for the beach, but it’s lousy for the bedroom at night. A temperate room is more conducive to sleeping than a tropical one.
  • Striking a balance between the thermostat, the bed covers, and your sleeping attire will help you drift off to sleep faster and more deeply.

    BLACK IT OUT
  • Light tells your brain that it’s time to wake up, so make your room as dark as possible for sleep.
  • Even a small amount of ambient light from your cell phone or computer can disrupt your sleep.

    SAVE YOUR BED FOR SLEEPING
  • Your bedroom should feel relaxing.
  • Your bed should be associated with sleeping, not working, eating or watching TV.