When Al Pacino lands in the town of Nightmute (seriously!), Alaska, in the 2002 thriller “Insomnia,” he’s bone=weary even before the never-setting summer sun wreaks havoc on his ability to rest. And the less he sleeps, the more mistakes the off-the-rails detective makes.
For 73 million Americans, that spiral of sleep deprivation, stress, irritability, bewildering missteps and insomnia is far too familiar. According to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, fully 30 percent of U.S. adults don’t get seven to nine hours of sleep nightly, putting themselves at risk for everything from depression to weight gain, diabetes and memory problems. That’s why it’s so important to know the ABCs of getting restful Zzzs.
First, discover what keeps you awake.
Stress and worries? Try keeping a worry diary; write in it every morning to purge anxiety (don’t do it at bedtime). We also recommend walking 10,000 steps a day and getting in two to three strength-building workouts a week -- great stress-busters, and they make you physically tired.
Chronic pain? See a doc to get diagnosis and treatment.
Obesity? Excess weight can fuel inflammation and pain. Losing weight promotes better sleep and eases sleep-busting sleep apnea for some.
Then adopt a good sleep routine. Stick to a regular bedtime -- seven days a week. Keep the room at 68-70 degrees, no warmer. Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime. Turn off all lights (no digital devices or TVs in the bedroom), except for red nightlights. Beds are for two things, and one of them is sleeping!
* * *
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz .