Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep

While it might feel difficult and beyond our grasp when insomnia strikes, there are some simple tips that can help us control when and how well we can sleep. Healthy sleep habits can be critical in whether or not we toss and turn, or get a good and productive period of sleep over the course of the night. Researchers into the science of sleep have identified some habits and practices that they term sleep hygiene. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help anyone having sleep problems, even problems as severe as alternating work schedules, travel induced jet lag, or insomnia.

 “Sleep Hygiene” — practices and habits to maximize your sleep

  • Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine — All three of these are stimulants even alcohol.   If a drink relaxes you and allows you to fall asleep quickly the sleep is generally poor and interrupted due to its stimulating affects.
  • Set the Mood = Quiet, Dark and Cool — We are talking comfy mattress, comfy pajamas, heavy curtains or black out shades, white noise if it is necessary to drown out environmental noise, a room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees.   And if those pets you love keep waking you up, put them outside of your bedroom.
  • Maintain a Pre-Sleep Routine — The same thing every night will remind your brain and body that you are preparing to sleep.
  • Sleep When Tired — If you are not asleep after 20 minutes get out of bed and do something relaxing until you are tired.
  • Stop Watching The Clock — This can add to your stress and make getting back to sleep harder.
  • Exposure to Natural Light — It is important for the function of your biological clock to get sun light exposure.
  • Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule — It is important to have fairly fixed sleep and wake schedule even on the weekends.
  • Nap Early — A late afternoon nap can interfere with getting to sleep that night.   So short naps early or not at all.
  • No Heavy Meal Right at Bedtime — If you go to bed on a full stomach, your body is busy digesting not resting.   This isn’t ideal.
  • Watch How Much You Drink — You don’t want to down a huge amount of liquid close to sleeping or you will be waking up to use the facilities.
  • Exercise Early — Exercise promotes sleep but exercise can also be stimulating, so exercise but not right before bed.
  • Do Something — Incorporating some or all of these habits will improve your chances of better sleep.

If you still aren’t getting good sleep you should talk with your doctor to see if you have a disorder that needs to be addressed.

Key Points:

  • 1If you are not asleep after 20 minutes get out of bed and do something relaxing until you are tired.
  • 2A room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees is ideal.
  • 3Use white noise if it is necessary to drown out environmental noise.

Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits–known as “sleep hygiene”–that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.

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