Are you getting enough sleep? 4 tips that can help

(FOX19) - According to Mercy Health, proper sleep is a key element to living a healthy lifestyle.

Poor sleep can lead to variety of health problems, especially if you choose to ignore it.

Not getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per day can result in insomnia, fragmented sleep at night and daytime fatigue and sleepiness.

Poor sleep can also cause a disturbance of appetite hormones, which can then lead to weight gain and obstructive sleep apnea.

To stay alert throughout the day, try these sleep tips:

  • Maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule, even on the weekends. A fixed timetable helps your body regulate its sleep pattern and get the most out of the hours you sleep. Long naps can dramatically affect the quality of your nighttime sleep. If you have to take a nap, try limiting it to 15-20 minutes in the late morning or early afternoon.
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime ritual prior to bedtime. Being "exhausted" is not the same as being "sleepy." Physical exhaustion requires time to relax and unwind, which you should do prior to heading to bed for sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Even moderate exercise can help you sleep better. Set a goal for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week or more. However, you want to make sure you finish at least three hours before bedtime. Exercise raises body temperature, which interferes with falling asleep.
  • Watch what you drink and eat before bedtime. Avoid caffeine after 5 p.m. and if you are hungry, eat small snacks, not large meals. While alcohol might help you feel sleepy in the short term, it ultimately ruins your sleep during the second half of the night by lessening how deeply you sleep, leaving you feeling less refreshed when the alarm goes off.