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Make the most of your shut-eye

Small changes can improve sleep quality.

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Most healthy adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. But many get less than that. More than a third of Americans say that lack of sleep affects their daily lives. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and more.

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Small changes can improve sleep quality

The good news is that you can do some simple things to get better sleep:

  • Eat well but not late at night.
  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.

Eat well for better energy

Eating food that your body needs can make a world of difference in your energy level. A healthy eating plan includes:

  • Fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Lean meat, poultry (like chicken and turkey) and eggs
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Don’t eat big meals late at night

Stay away from certain foods a few hours before bed:

  • High-fat foods. They’re a lot of work for your stomach, and that may keep you up.
  • Spicy foods or foods with a lot of acid in them. They can cause heartburn, especially when you lie down.

Cut down on caffeine and alcohol

Both caffeine and alcohol can hurt your sleep. Caffeine can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol might make it easier to fall asleep, but you’re more likely to wake up later on in the night. It’s best to limit what you drink during the day, and stop drinking both well before you go to bed.  Note: Some medicines contain caffeine as well.

Quit smoking

The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant that may keep you awake. It may also lead to lighter sleep overall. Heavy smokers tend to wake up too early because of nicotine withdrawal.

While these suggestions are simple, they may not be easy. But you don’t have to make changes alone. Talk with your doctor, and ask for help.

Sources:

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Sleep.org

 

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.