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4 ways to finally master your sleep.

4 ways to finally master your sleep.

With expert advice from Dr. Cynthia E. Collins

MDLIVE Clinical Medical Director Cynthia E. Collins, MD, is board certified and specializes in family medicine, weight loss, and health and wellness. A member of the American Academy of Family Medicine and Obesity Medicine Association, Dr. Collins is knowledgeable in holistic medical care for all ages.

You’ve just lost about 40 minutes of sleep because of Daylight Savings Time.1 And that’s on top of the sleep debt you likely have already, especially if you’re busy or have a health issue keeping you up at night.

Even though adults need between seven and nine hours of quality sleep, 35% of us fall short of that. And almost half of all Americans say they feel sleepy most days of the week.2 But consistently getting enough quality sleep is as vital for good health as exercise and a healthy diet, says Dr. Cynthia E. Collins, MDLIVE Clinical Medical Director.

During sleep, your body heals and repairs itself, so getting the amount you need is essential for feeling less stressed, improving your cardiovascular and brain health, and boosting your immune system. Once you start to get enough sleep, you may notice your memory, focus, and even your weight, improve as well.

– Dr. Collins

Dr. Collins says you can master your sleep schedule with a few changes. Here are her four favorite ways to improve sleep:

Establish a bedtime ritual.
It works for your kids, right? So, try a soothing ritual or evening wind-down period to signal your brain that it’s time to rest. Try calming music or relaxation techniques you only use at bedtime. And since blue light can interfere with melatonin, your sleep hormone,3 plan to shut down your electronic devices at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Aim for the “golden hour” of sleep – especially if you’re a woman.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekends, can be challenging. But consistency helps your body know and expect the times it needs to be asleep. The key? Falling asleep between 10 p.m. and 10:59 p.m. A recent study showed this is the optimum time to fall asleep for better heart health, especially for women.4

You don’t have to lose sleep when the clocks “spring forward” for Daylight Savings Time. Here are 4 tips for helping your body prepare and adjust.

Get checked out.
Health issues can interfere with sleep, whether you are aware of them or not. If you aren’t feeling well, experiencing symptoms, or if you feel chronically sleepy, Talk to a board-certified doctor in minutes. MDLIVE doctors are available on-demand 24/7/365, or schedule a time that works for you. Worries, stress, and other issues affecting your day can also cause insomnia at night. And sometimes, you may not be sure what’s keeping you up. Talking to a caring mental health expert may help. Make an appointment here to take care of your emotional well-being.

Do more during the day to sleep better at night.
What you do during the day impacts the amount and quality of your sleep. Getting fresh air and sunlight, and exercising earlier in the day, will help regulate your internal clock, so you sleep better at night. If you can’t resist taking a nap during the day, short, 20-minute power naps earlier in the afternoon may help you recharge without interfering with your sleep.5

Bryan Gutierrez