Promising to get more sleep each night is a popular New Year’s resolution, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until January to start. There are many small lifestyle changes that you can make now to improve your sleep habits.
The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project began in 2013 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The overarching goals of the project are to improve sleep health in the U.S, increase public awareness of the importance of healthy sleep habits and to educate on the treatment and prevention is sleep disorders.
Here are three of the project initiatives to reach those goals:
Increase medical evaluations for people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
One of the key warning signs you could have an OSA, which affects almost 25 million Americans, is snoring. Other common warning signs are choking or gasping during sleep, extreme fatigue or daytime sleepiness, obesity and high blood pressure. OSAs are very treatable with the help of a sleep specialist. Sign the pledge to stop snoring here.
Reduce accidents and crashes due to drowsy driving
Drowsy driving is very common on U.S roads and interstates, especially around the holidays. Sometimes you may not even be aware you’re doing it. If at any point you feel tried, unable to focus or distracted at the wheel, consider how tired you are. Then, pull off the road to a safe location to take a break by taking a quick nap, having a caffeinated drink, or switching drivers if you’re traveling with a group. It’s not worth it to try to press on if you’re too tired.
Increase rate of adults and teens who receive sufficient amounts of sleep
When it comes to sleeping well each night, it helps to go back to the basics of what helps you sleep well each night – daily routine, diet and exercise.
- Set your morning alarm at the same time, and set a strict bedtime for yourself to create consistent sleep schedule for your body and mind.
- As the old saying goes, “if you put good in, you’ll get good out.” Create balanced plates at each meal to keep you full and energized. Remember, you are more likely to overeat when you’re tired!
- Get up and move! Pencil in a regular time to hit the gym, attended a fitness class, or even a stroll around the block.
The Healthy Sleep Awareness Project uses the tag line, “sleep well, be well,” and we couldn’t agree more. Creating health sleep habits and routines are essential to exceptional overall health. If you or someone you know struggles with sleeping, check out some of our resources from Iowa Sleep that can help, or stop in and see us.