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You Can Sleep Better: The Experts Explain How

When Apartment Guide culled business data and ran the numbers, it said it could determine the number of coffee shops in any given city across the country. 

It did. And the winner is?

San Francisco. 

“San Francisco tops the list, really both per density and per capita,” said Apartment Guide Senior Managing Editor Brian Carberry, “It really had the perfect score.”  

San Francisco needs that perfect coffee score because a different dataset shows the city is getting imperfect sleep.

More coffee, less sleep in SF

The CDC asked adults around the country a bunch of health questions, including this: “Do you get fewer than seven hours of sleep each night?”

Our team pulled answers for the Bay Area. First, by county. The most people are sleepless in San Francisco, where 33.3% of people told the CDC they get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night. Alameda was next, and almost a tie at 33.2%. Sleep improves a bit in Contra Costa (32.5%), Santa Clara (31.5%), San Mateo (29.8%), and Napa (29.2%) counties. The best resting Bay Area counties are Sonoma (29.1%) and Marin (27.3%).

We also zeroed in by ZIP code. We found the fewest winks in the Bay Area on Treasure Island, 94130; around Bayview-Hunters Point, 94124; and Oakland’s 94621, near the Coliseum. 40% of people in those ZIP codes told the CDC than seven hours of sleep nightly. 

Source: CDC

“Most of us need seven to nine hours every single night,” said Terry Cralle, R.N., with the Better Sleep Council. “We really have to give sleep a chance.” 

We also spoke with Dr. Emerson Wickmire, Ph.D. at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he heads the Sleep Medicine section. 

“Sleep is a nutrient,” Wickmire said, “And our bodies and brains just need it.” 

Best rest: Rural Sonoma

The CDC data show the people who sleep the most around the Bay Area live in rural Sonoma, 96497; Lafayette 94595; and Portola Valley, 94028.

The survey didn’t determine why. But, no matter where you slumber, we asked the experts how to get more – or better – sleep. First, they said: schedule seven to nine hours. 

“Rule number one to optimize our sleep experience is to allocate — or set aside — enough hours to get the sleep we need,” Wickmire said.  

Consistency= more sleep

Next, set a nighttime routine. “Bedtime routines are not just for children,” Cralle said.  

Empty the trash. 

Do the dishes. 

Check the door locks.


Just repeat it, nightly. 

“Complete those activities in the same order,” Wickmire said. “This will prepare our bodies and minds for sleep to follow.”  

Change your toothpaste?

And when you’re doing your routine, get a relaxed vibe going. “Keep things calm, keep things quiet,” Cralle said. To keep really calm, Cralle said she even avoids “minty” and “extra refreshing” toothpaste.

“I literally have a different brand of toothpaste that I use at night,” she said. 

Cralle and Wickmire both said proper lighting is key around bedtime, especially in the bedroom. If you have light bulbs that can change color, shift them. Move away from blueish daylight hues; choose dusky orange and yellow hues, instead.

“The sun gives a pretty good example,” Wickmire said. 

Also: go minimal in the bedroom. “Physical clutter equals mental clutter,” Wickmire said. 

Declutter your room + your mind

If your mind races about tasks in the day ahead, don’t fear. Cralle says to write down tomorrow’s “To-Do” list. “Just put it on paper, the old-fashioned way,” she said. “And then, you’d be surprised… how things look manageable.” 

Consistent exercise is helpful for snoozing, too. 

Yes, it’s all work: the routine, the lights, the list. But the experts say better sleep pays off when you’re awake, with productivity you can only dream of.

Now, let’s get back to where we started: coffee. What’s its connection to sleep?

“It’s like a cat chasing its tail,” Wickmire said.  

Caffeine Crutch? Consult a physician

Wickmire and Cralle agreed that some caffeine is OK. Just don’t let a morning craving for a jumpstart of Joe morph into a daylong caffeine crutch.

“If you need caffeine to get you through the day — all day — something’s not right,” Cralle ssid.  

If you’re still not sleeping well, ask your doctor. 

Source: NBC Bay Area

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