It’s Better Sleep Month. Good luck with that

Getting a little shut-eye should be easy. It's not.

Getting a little shut-eye should be easy. It’s not.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

May is Better Sleep Month, as if you didn’t know.

Better Sleep Month is promoted by the Better Sleep Council, which is an arm of the International Sleep Products Assn., which is a mouthpiece for the mattress industry.

But don’t let all those corporate connections put you off. Getting a decent night’s sleep is very important -- and increasingly difficult to accomplish in today’s distraction-laden world (squirrel!).

Sleep deprivation has become so prevalent that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it a public health epidemic.


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More than a quarter of the U.S. population isn’t getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia, the CDC says. “Getting sufficient sleep is not a luxury -- it is a necessity,” the agency says.

What can you do?

Researchers know the answers to that. But it means showing a little discipline and putting the darn electronic devices away.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the first thing people should do to improve sleep is stick to a regular schedule. “Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night,” it says.

But keep this in mind (without stressing, of course): If you don’t conk out within 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing, like reading. Then try again when you’re feeling tired.

It only makes things worse when you toss and turn and beat yourself up for still being awake.

Other tips include watching what you eat and drink, making sure your bedroom is nice and comfortable, getting some exercise during the day (but not too close to bedtime) and trying to keep anxiety in check.

It’s tempting, I know, to succumb to all the pleasures that the Internet, mobile devices, home-entertainment systems and all our other gadgets can offer. But they’re not your friend when the goal is to drift off to dreamland.

Think of it like this: You’ll enjoy all your toys a whole lot more after getting up in the morning feeling nice and refreshed.

If you have a consumer question, email me at or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.