Six habits that will help you get a better nights sleep

Are you getting adequate sleep?

Sleep. It occupies about a third of people's lives. Yet most of the time, you either don't think about it or take it for granted.

Everybody requires quality sleep for optimal health. Most adults should get seven to eight hours every night, while children and adolescents need more, anywhere from 10 to 15 hours every night, depending on their age. Sleep is a highly complex process, and there is no shortcut or quick fix that will help you get by on little-to-no shuteye and still function at your best.

Good sleep contributes to memory consolidation, hormone balance, energy control, and brain "reset." Without adequate sleep, your body's functions are disrupted. Lack of sleep can lead to conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. People who do not get adequate sleep may have headaches, fatigue, poor performance on mental and physical tasks, and other difficulties.

To get quality sleep, start with these good bedtime habits.

  • Have a quiet, dark, and comfortable bedroom.
  • Remove distractions such as televisions, computers, work, and pets.
  • Have a set schedule most nights for going to bed and getting up.
  • Limit screen time before bed.
  • No alcohol or caffeine within a few hours before bed.
  • Avoid exercise right before bedtime.

Pain or certain medical conditions can disrupt sleep. Your medical care provider can help you address any bothersome issues. Likewise, you should avoid medications for sleep unless advised after a complete medical evaluation. Your doctor might recommend testing for a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

If you have questions about getting the best night's rest, join Intermountain Healthcare experts on Tuesday, May 8 as they discuss sleep on the KUTV and Intermountain Healthcare's Ask the Expert. Tips and suggestions will be offered throughout the day on Channel 2, with nurses, doctors, and other medical experts providing interviews during news and other broadcasts.

If you have questions, a panel of experts will be answering your phone calls from noon to 5:30 p.m. at 1-877-908-0680. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter using #kutvasktheexpert.

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