The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. Here are some tips to help you get the quality sleep you need:
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule with the same bedtime and wake-up time every day, even on weekends This helps to regulate your body’s clock.
- Stick to a relaxing bedtime ritual that you do every night before bedtime. This is best done away from bright lights. This ritual helps separate your sleep time from your stressful or exciting daytime activities.
- If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially later in the day. If you have trouble falling asleep, try to eliminate all naps.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best. If you exercise late in the day give yourself enough time to relax and let your core body temperature drop before trying to sleep.
- Evaluate your room. Your room is for sleeping, not for work or entertainment. Remove work materials, computers, and televisions. Your room should be cool, between 60 and 67 degrees, and free from any noise and light that can disturb your sleep. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, and white noise machines. Don’t forget that your restless or snoring sleeping partner can be a big disturbance to you, too.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Most mattresses need to be replaced after 9-10 years.
- Use bright light to help you manage your circadian rhythms. For example, avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to bright light (ideally natural light) in the morning.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine late in the evening, since all three of these substances can disrupt sleep. Of course, please avoid all nicotine in general for a variety of health reasons.
- Remember that indigestion affects sleep. Avoid large meals and spicy meals close to bedtime. Ideally, give 2-3 hours between the last full meal and bedtime. Small snacks can be okay, but try to stick to liquids.
- Avoid electronics before bedtime. The screens on devices such as tablets and laptops emanate light that can be activating to the brain.
- If you cannot sleep, go to a different room and engage in a relaxing activity until you are ready to sleep. This helps you to associate your bedroom with successful sleep and not frustration.
- If you have allergies or asthma, ask your physician for help to keep these conditions under control. These conditions are common causes of disrupted sleep.
Modified from Healthy Sleep Tips from the National Sleep Foundation.
Image: Panneau – dormir.
Please check out the other articles on this blog about sleep and other interesting topics.