It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that lack of sleep can be detrimental to your health. Study after study shows sleep deprivation is associated with greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic physical and mental health conditions.
Most sleep experts recommend seven to nine hours of shuteye each night. However, a recent study conducted by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that nearly 35 percent of study respondents do not meet the minimum seven hours. The CDC report goes on to warn us about the immediate, day-to-day hazards of inadequate sleep, which include cognitive impairment and an increased likelihood of accidents.
If logging sufficient sleep each night can significantly improve physical and mental wellness, why aren’t more people making it a top priority? Study author, Anne Wheaton, Ph.D., thinks it’s because people put are more focused on changing other undesirable habits such as eating poorly or smoking. “Sleep just isn’t at the top of their board,” says Wheaton.
We know current health is the most important factor used by life insurance companies to determine your eligibility for term life insurance and the rate you will pay for a policy. So why not focus on sleep a little more to improve health and drive down the cost of term life insurance?
If counting sheep just isn’t cutting it for you, try these tips for grabbing the Z’s your body and mind deserve.
Set an alarm. Better yet — make that two.
First thing first. It’s going to take discipline to get yourself on schedule. And you’re going to need it at the front end and the back end. Try setting two alarms: one for going to bed at a specific time in the evening and one for getting out of bed in the morning. The morning alarm is a given, but most people don’t think about the evening alarm. It serves as a good reminder to wind things down and get ready for bed.
Work with Mother Nature.
Daylight reeks havoc on the body’s sleep cycle. Block out all natural and artificial light in your bedroom to help your body settle into it’s normal sleep pattern. Conversely, you can use light to help ease you out of sleep in the morning. This wake-up light with sunrise simulation from Philips will wake you up gradually with natural light. It also has calming wake-up sounds if you need an extra nudge on those cold winter mornings. Who doesn’t like waking up to a golden sunrise after all?
Ditch the screens.
All of them. Television, computer, smartphone and the like. Why? Because they all emit blue light and blue light does not play nicely with our sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Long story short, blue light interferes with our body’s circadian rhythms. Studies have found that people who use blue light emitting screens before bedtime experience worse sleep compared to those who do not.
Getting more sleep is a manageable, realistic goal for most people. Like any other change worth making, it may be difficult at first. But once your new habits are ingrained you’ll be healthier, you’ll feel better, and you may just save a few bucks on your next term life insurance policy.