In a recent survey, researchers found that improving sleep quality and quantity, and reducing the use of sleep medication, is as beneficial to happiness and health as winning a $250,000 lottery. Research on the harms of insufficient sleep abounds, with studies showing that chronic sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system and increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, mood disorders like depression, and chronic inflammation. If you’re among the sleep-deprived, follow sound sleep strategies like sticking with a set bedtime and wake time (even on weekends), limiting sleep stealers like evening caffeine and too much alcohol, setting your room temperature to between 60 and 67 degrees, getting regular exercise (but not close to bedtime), and creating a wind-down routine at night. That means no work, phone calls, scanning news or social media, or running on the treadmill.
“Everything you do in the hour before bed should be relaxing, not stressful or strenuous,” says Cleveland Clinic sleep specialist Michelle Drerup, Psy.D.