Better Sleep Month is observed during the month of May and aims to encourage healthy patterns of sleep and educate on the benefits of sleeping well. According to Amy Valdez, Texas A&M AgriLife Program Specialist, “sleep is just as important as including a well-balanced eating pattern and physical activity into our daily lives. It can have a great impact on our physical and mental health, and a lack of sleep can be detrimental.”

Sleep Recommendations and Benefits

Sleep is a crucial part of our daily lives. It is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation that most adults should sleep for seven to nine hours every night. Getting in a good night’s sleep not only helps us feel energized and prepared for the next day, but it can also aid in maintaining a healthy immune system and managing stress.

Insufficient Sleep, Oversleeping and Concerns

In the United States, one in three adults are not getting adequate sleep. Insufficient sleep can play a role in various aspects of one’s health. Not getting enough can lead to increased risk of weight gain, depression and certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Just as getting enough sleep as an adult can be an issue, so is too much sleep or oversleeping. Oversleeping can be linked to individuals gaining weight, experiencing depression, headaches or backaches.

Tips on Getting a Better Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep does not always come easy. Valdez shares the following tips for getting better sleep:

Exercise During the Day. Physical activity during the day can make it easier to fall asleep. Avoid exercise close to bedtime as this may have the opposite effect.

Keep It Consistent. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Keep a bedtime routine to allow your body to wind down.

Prepare Your Area for Quality Sleep. Sleeping in a room that is dark, cool and has limited distractions can provide for a better night’s sleep. Ensure your sleeping area has all of the necessary items you may need to sleep, such as pillows, blankets and a sound machine to muffle distracting noises.

Reduce Use of Electronics. The blue light from electronics can interrupt the production of sleep hormones, causing difficulty sleeping. Aim to put away electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

Avoid Caffeine. Caffeine is typically used to provide a boost of energy. Consuming caffeine before bed can make it hard to fall asleep and make sleep not as restful. The general recommendation for cutting off caffeine products is a minimum of eight hours before going to bed.

While these tips may work for some individuals, this does not replace treatment for any forms of chronic sleep deprivation. If there is a continuous pattern of inadequate sleep or concerns, visit and speak with your healthcare team.

Liz Buckner Cross is a county extension agent for Rusk County.