Remember: Take a photo while doing one of the heart healthy behaviors and post it on Facebook or Instagram.

Tag it with #AdelanteHeartStrong and let us know @AdelanteHealthcare and you could win a free Heart Strong t-shirt and a $50 gift card!

Winners will be notified by 5pm each Monday during February.

Week Two Challenge: Sleep Strong

Do you wake up happy to face the day or exhausted before you even get started?

According to the CDC, one in three US adults get less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Getting more ZZZ’s can reduce your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions.

This week, we’re challenging you to make some little changes in your sleep habits that could make a big difference in your overall health.

Just Like a Kid, You Need a “Bedtime”

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps you sleep better, so just like your kids, you need a set “bed time”.

Because you’re aiming for 7 to 9 hours of sleep, figure out your ideal wake-up time and count backwards. Then set an alarm to remind yourself to get to bed.

And don’t think that you can make up for lost sleep over the weekend. Studies show that sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday actually sabotages your sleep cycle and leaves you worse off.

Add a What to the When

One key to a smooth bedtime is building a nightly routine to help you wind down and prepare your mind and body for rest.

Give yourself time for any nightly chores, do any prep work that will make the next morning easier and jot down thoughts on a to do list to clear your restless mind.

Once in bed, set the stage for rest with time for a wind-down activity like meditation, reading or journaling.

About Your Where

Where you sleep also matters. Make sure your bedroom is dark, comfortable and preferably cool. If loud or sudden noises are a problem, consider a white noise generator or ear plugs. Reserve your bedroom for rest or romance and don’t work, eat or watch TV in bed.

Tweak Your Tech

Staring into the bright light of your phone may mess with your sleep cycle and melatonin production. That makes it harder to get to sleep and stay that way.

The best plan is to stop using screens at least one hour prior to bed time. If you find yourself tempted to pick up your phone too close to bed time, consider an app-blocking app that makes your smart phone a dumb one.

Once you’re in bed, keep your phone as far away as you can – preferably in another room altogether. If you DO keep your phone in your room, turn on the “do not disturb” function to block all notifications during sleep hours to you aren’t constantly checking to see what the buzz or ding is about.

Morning Matters

How you finish your night and start your day also affects your sleep and rest.

For starters, skip the snooze button. Just like turning your car on and off isn’t the best way to get it warmed up in the morning, hitting the snooze button for five more minutes may only leave you groggier.

Instead, get moving. Get up, stretch and open the curtains or blinds to let in bright, natural sunshine to help you wake up.

Breakfast is STILL the most important meal of the day, so have a healthy one. Consider adding a few minutes of centering prayer, yoga or meditation to set yourself up for a great day.

If you’re a morning person, consider working out. Moving your body is a great way to improve your sleep by reducing your stress and increasing your health so if you missed last week’s blog post on moving strong, check it out here.

As with all healthy habits, starting small and building on success is key. So choose one or two of these ideas and start today!

And check back next Tuesday for our next Heart Strong Challenge!