Getting proper sleep has never been more important – inadequate sleep is considered a risk factor for obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases.
An estimated 50-70 million adults in the U.S. suffer from sleep disturbances, leaving many people on the hunt for for natural, cost-effective solutions to improve sleep quality.
Americans’ ongoing sleep problems have caused the use of sleep aids to skyrocket – but I recommend starting with your fridge for solutions, instead of the medicine cabinet.
Take a look at your diet. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening, and instead of reaching for an extra cup of coffee in the morning, try drinking a glass of tart cherry juice at night. Research shows tart cherry juice can help reduce the severity of insomnia and improve sleep efficiency.
My recommendations for creating a bedtime routine and getting a better night’s rest are simple:
Go red before bed: Change your bedtime ritual by adding tart cherries to your routine. Get started by drinking a glass of tart cherry juice in the evening before you go to bed for seven consecutive days.
Be anti-social: The screens from gadgets can emit blue light that suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin causing alertness, so forget about social media before bed. Keep the room quiet, dark and cool, creating a calm sanctuary.
Hit the gym: Decompress from stress with exercise. Exercise anytime is good for improving sleep patterns.
Set your internal alarm: Keep the same bedtime and wake-up time everyday, which helps to set your biological clock that controls rhythms for wake and sleep.
About Dr. Carol Ash, Director of Sleep Medicine for Meridian Health
Carol Ash, DO, is a board-certified general internist, fellowship-trained pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine specialist with more than 15 years’ experience in clinical medicine. Currently, Dr. Ash is the director of Sleep Medicine at Meridian Health in New Jersey. A graduate of Seton Hall University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), Dr. Ash has been a featured speaker at a NASA-sponsored convention about countering fatigue in aviation and has presented a similar program before the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and has lectured for various corporate aviation audiences including engagements at International Operators Convention (IOC) and Corporate Aviation Safety Stand-down (CASS).