How to fix bad sleep habits caused by the pandemic

Posted at 3:36 PM, May 19, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - More stress, changes to our schedules and more screen time over the past year have led to less of something we all need - sleep.

A recent survey from Mattress Firm found a lot of people aren't getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

"As a country, we really need to do better," said Dr. W. Chris Winter, a neurologist and sleep specialist.

While there are a lot of factors, one affecting many of us is electronics.

Seventy-three percent of people surveyed said they watched TV or are on their phones right before bedtime.

Not getting enough sleep can impact everything we do.

"It really affects the way that we live," said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, an associate professor at Duke University Medical Center. "Lack of sleep can affect your focus, your energy level, your cardiovascular health, overall mood and athletic performance."

Dr. Kansagra says it can also diminish attention span.

There are some things we can do to improve our sleep.

One of those: Have a set sleep time and bed time.

Experts recommend going to bed between 8 p.m. and midnight for the most restorative sleep.

Related: Having trouble sleeping? Doctor recommends 'sleep hygiene' amid pandemic stress

They also say you should be exercising every day.

"It's not optional. It's like brushing your teeth," said Dr. Winter.

Eating right and making sure your bedroom is set up to be a restful place can also help.

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