The American workweek is now an average of 47 hours. With more than eight hours of work a day, chores, exercise, and mealtimes, it seems like it would only be naturally to fall asleep as soon as you hit the pillow. Unfortunately, with 43% of Americans reporting they rarely get a good night’s sleep, this is largely not the case.
While the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting between seven to nine hours of sleep per evening, the average American scores a significantly smaller number of hours each night — Maryland in particular. In fact, according to WMDT ABC, Maryland is the third most sleep-deprived state in the country.
And being tired doesn’t just affect your productivity. It can also have drastically negative effects on your weight, emotional well-being, and even your life expectancy.
To nip this in the bud, Dr. Eric Kezirian of the University of Southern California recommends putting yourself in a place of total relaxation.
“Getting ready for bed and then going to bed should be a time to relax without the stimulation that is everywhere in our busy lives,” he said in an interview with The Daily Mail.
Indeed, ask any expert and they’ll tell you that stimulation before bed is the key to failure. Exercise, for example, can lead to an inability to fall asleep.
“It can take a long time for the body to cool down and the heart rate and breathing to return to normal,” explained Dr. Janet Kennedy, a New York City sleep expert.
Eating right before bed can also negatively affect one’s sleep schedule. Eating before bed doesn’t give your body the chance to break down and absorb food. According to experts, the best way to digest food is to actually eat standing up.
Ultimately, experts recommend doing something soothing before bed, such as taking a hot bath or reading a pleasant book.