Get More Sleep This Year and Establish a Nightime Routine: Sleep Expert Shares Key Tips
Wondering how to get more sleep and establish a nightime routine this year? You’re not alone.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one third of U.S. adults get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep each night*. Lack of sleep is linked with a range of diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and is often overlooked for the crucial role it has on the body’s health. Complicating the issue even more, almost half of women in the U.S. reported anxiety about their ability to fall asleep in a recent national survey by Soma**.
Many experts agree that one helpful solution is to establish a nighttime routine that prepares the body for sleep. Healthy sleep habits for establishing a nighttime routine include:
- Get up at the same time every day. Setting a consistent wakeup time will program the body’s natural clock and help you to fall asleep easily at night.
- Unplug before bed. The brain needs time to slow down from the day’s stimulation and transition before going to sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine to signal that it’s time to get sleepy. It should be consistent so that you can develop sleep associations that help the body to respond with fatigue.
- Make the bedroom a refuge. Feeling good at bedtime helps the body to relax and settle into great sleep.
Dr. Janet Kennedy, a clinical psychologist, sleep specialist and author of The Good Sleeper, along with Mary van Praag, President of the Intimates Group of Chico’s FAS, joined me to discuss more tips for establishing a nighttime routine, plus additional insights on rest from Soma’s national sleep study.
Why is sleeping the recommended seven hours each night so important for healthy adults?
Sleep is the time of day when our body repairs and restores itself from everything we’ve done all day, and it gets ready for the next day. So, in the short term, it is responsible for creating memory from the things we’ve learned, regulating hormones, regulating our appetite and just our general alertness response times and whatnot. In the long term, sleep deprivation can cause serious health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cognitive decline.
Why establishing a sleep routine is so important?
A sleep routine signals to the body that it’s time to say goodbye to the day and move into night. So, setting up a routine gives us the sleep associations that almost trigger fatigue and help us into the night.
What advice do you have for people out there who may work a job that has irregular hours, or someone like a police officer, nurse, firefighter, truck driver — someone who’s work hours require them to have irregular sleep hours? Or that new mom who has to get up during the night for their baby? How does a person like that establish a sleep routine that can give them the proper amount of sleep, so that they can stay healthy?
Well, there’s different situations. There’s temporary changes that make getting consistent sleep difficult, like having a new baby. And in that case, it’s really difficult to get traction, and you kind of have to just make sure that you’re getting enough rest and getting enough help throughout that process until it settles down.
With more of a swing shift kind of issue, where sometimes you have to sleep during the day and sometimes you sleep at night, those situations can be really tricky. And if a person is really struggling, it’s helpful to work with a professional to try to figure out how to set up a schedule that works best for you, because those special circumstances are different from person to person.
What are your tips that you recommend for establishing the night routine for those who have a consistent work shift?
Well, it’s important to separate the day from the night, as I said, and the bedtime routine really helps with that. About an hour before you’re ready to go to bed, you should be turning off your phone, maybe even earlier if you can.
And then, when it’s time to move on to the bedtime routine, making your bedroom a refuge, a place where you really want to be, a place that signals relaxation for you, is important. Then getting into comfortable sleepwear, doing your cleanup routine, and finally getting into bed with something to read, preferably a book that can take you away and occupy your thoughts away from the stresses of the day, so your body can settle down and tell you when it’s ready to sleep.
Earlier we we mentioned a sleep study conducted by Soma. What was the most surprising revelation from that Soma national sleep survey?
Well, first off, Soma has been focused on creating solutions and intimate apparel for women since we were founded 15 years ago. And we really wanted to take on the sleep epidemic and learn more about what was causing it. And one of the biggest barriers that our respondents talked about was this inability to fall asleep because of regulating temperature. They complained of night sweats, being sweaty and just generally too hot.
Now, you mentioned sleep barriers, and definitely, being comfortable is one of them. What are some other things that people can do to overcome sleep barriers so that they can have a more restful sleep?
Well, first, just mentioning what the sleep barriers were that were noted from our survey. One was just this general chatter of the mind, not being able to calm your brain. The second was getting up and having to go to the bathroom, and the third was this night sweat, which is a very common problem. And that’s where Soma Cool Nights sleepwear can be helpful
As you mentioned, preparing for a geat night’s sleep starts with really comfortable sleepwear. Cool Nights is designed to be cooling. It’s cool to the touch. It’s very comfortable and gives that perfect night’s sleep.
When you’re hot, it’s really hard to get the sleep that you need. Using the Soma Cool Nights sleepwear is a great way to manage the temperature control issues that a lot of women have at night. It helps to keep you cool, it keeps you from feeling moisture, it allows the heat that’s coming from your body to dissipate. And that allows you to stay asleep, or return to sleep if you wake up, more quickly. This results in total comfort and a more reslful sleep.
Where can people find out more information about Soma sleepwear, as well as more tips on how to get a restful sleep?
Go to www.soma.com/CoolNightsSleep And then also, we have 270-plus boutiques across the nation, where you can get expert service and a five-star fit to help you get more sleep.
About Our Guests
Dr. Janet Kennedy is a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist. She is the founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, a psychotherapy practice dedicated to the treatment of sleep problems in adults and children, and the author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You).
Mary van Praag serves as President of the Intimates Group of Chico’s FAS, which includes the Soma and TellTale brands.
* https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html ** Soma 2019 Sleep Study.