Catching Z’s is critical for many functions of the human body, and current guidelines recommend adults consistently get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Previous research has shown that decreased sleep is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and depression. More recent research has linked a lack of sleep in adults in their 50s to 70s to the development of dementia.
Little people seem to have the bedtime thing down, as parents set rules. So why not follow these same rules?
First, Set a bedtime!
To start, a consistent bedtime is critical, and there is good-quality data that shows regular bedtimes help improve toddler sleep. This is equally important for adults and should be consistent across weekdays as well as weekends.
Take a bath!
A comprehensive study published in 2019 examined 13 different adult studies and found that scheduling a hot bath or shower one or two hours before a planned bedtime significantly shortened the time it took to go to sleep, even if the rinse lasted as little as 10 minutes.
Ideally, applying lotion would be coupled with a massage, as massage therapy has been shown to improve sleep in children and adults.
Enjoy a relaxing activity!
Adults have also been shown to benefit from reading. Even 30 minutes of reading can decrease stressful feelings, reduce blood pressure, and lower heart rate in young adults.