Sleep Well for Better Health

A strict bedtime shouldn’t just be for keiki. A consistent schedule with ample nightly sleep is vital to overall health and well-being. Lack of sleep increases the risk of health problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension and can lead to impaired judgement. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night is crucial if you want to lead a happy, long life – like people do in the Blue Zones areas.

The key to a good night’s sleep is to set yourself up for success. Here are a few tips that can help:

Chill out. 65 degrees is the perfect temperature for sleeping. Temperatures below 54 degrees or above 75 degrees can actually wake you up during the night. If it’s colder than you’d like, grab a couple of extra blankets. Too hot? Invest in a fan or window air conditioner.

Comfort is king. Mattresses should be replaced every 8 to 10 years. Make sure that your mattress isn’t sagging and that it’s supporting you comfortably while you sleep. Spend at least 10 minutes testing your mattress before you buy. Choose comfortable pillows that support head and neck.

Lights out. Dim the lights an hour before you go to sleep. This prepares your body for sleep, so you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. And it’s not just overhead lights, the light from digital alarm clocks can disrupt sleep, too. So ditch the clock or turn it away from the bed.

Digital detox. Remove the TV, computer, and phone from your bedroom. A tech-free bedroom helps reinforce the association between the bed and sleep. And the blue light that screens emit can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, blue light keeps you up and decreases your REM sleep, which is when dreams occur.

Want to get involved with Blue Zones Project – Hawai‘i and learn more about how to live longer better? Email us at bluezonesprojecthawaii@sharecare.com or visit Hawaii.bluezonesproject.com. Like us on Facebook (@bzphawaii) and Instagram (@bzphawaii) too!

Ashley Takitani Leahey is the statewide engagement lead for Blue Zones Project – Hawaii. Born and raised on Maui, Ashley is passionate about her island home. When she’s not volunteering and giving back to her community, Ashley loves to be outdoors – gardening, practicing yoga, and spending time with her chocolate Labrador. See more Blue Zones Project – Hawaii updates @BZPHawaii.