According to Dr. Joseph Mercola in his article, The Top 5 Natural Sleep Aid Tips, the number of Americans getting eight or more hours of sleep per night has dropped 34% between 1942 and 2013. Dr. Mercola goes on to say that number of people getting less than five hours of sleep per night increased from 3% to 14% in that same time period. These stats are alarming.
Are sleeping pills the answer? Not according to Dr. Mercola. He states that the health risks of taking sleeping pills are many, including the following:
- Higher risk of death, including from accidents
- Increased risk of cancer
- Increased insulin resistance, food cravings, weight gain, and diabetes
- Complete amnesia, even from events that occurred during the day
- Depression, confusion, disorientation, and hallucinations
So what’s a person who can’t sleep well to do? Here are some recommendations for natural ways to improve your sleep:
Darkness in Your Bedroom, Bright Light During the Day – This seems like a given, but you’d be surprised how much light we have in our bedrooms at night. There is science behind why this works.
Nap Wisely – Short naps (20 or so) are beneficial. Longer naps make things worse.
Aim for Eight Hours of Sleep – This is still the hallmark of good health. Get eight hours of sleep, not just eight hours in bed.
Exercise – Just do it. The research is definitive on this and there are many other health benefits too.
Get the Temperature Right – A warm bath and 1.5 to 2 hours before bed time helps you wind down and the optimal sleeping temperature of a room seems to be between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Having a comfortable mattress is an important part of quality sleep also. The following specialty mattresses all rate higher for comfort than a traditional inner spring mattress. Check out our buyer’s guides for memory foam mattresses, adjustable beds, latex mattresses, and air beds to learn more about each type.