Sleep is so important. Sleep serves so many vital purposes and a lack of sleep can lead to many different problems throughout the day. I have listed some important tips to help you get the sleep you need to be the best you can be!
Your Personal Habits
- Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. Do not be one of those people who allows bedtime and awakening time to drift. The body “gets used” to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed. Even if you are retired or not working, this is an essential component of good sleeping habits.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- If you nap throughout the day, it is no wonder that you will not be able to sleep at night. The late afternoon for most people is a “sleepy time.” Many people will take a nap at that time. This is generally not a bad thing to do, provided you limit the nap to 30–45 minutes and can sleep well at night.Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate, so be careful.Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- These can affect your ability to stay asleep.Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
- Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep. Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bedtime, however, can decrease your ability to fall asleep.
Your Sleeping Environment
- Use comfortable bedding.
Uncomfortable bedding can prevent good sleep. Evaluate whether or not this is a source of your problem, and make appropriate changes.Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
If your bedroom is too cold or too hot, it can keep you awake. A cool (not cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep.Block out all distracting noise,
and eliminate as much light as possible.Reserve the bed for sleep.
Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room. Let your body “know” that the bed is associated with sleeping.
- Getting Ready For Bed
Try a light snack before bed.
Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help you to sleep.Practice relaxation techniques before bed.
- Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.
- Don’t take your worries to bed.
Leave your worries about job, school, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed. Some people find it useful to assign a “worry period” during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.Establish a pre-sleep ritual.
Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.Get into your favorite sleeping position.
If you don’t fall asleep within 15–30 minutes, get up, go into another room, and read until sleepy.
- Getting Up in the Middle of the Night
Most people wake up one or two times a night for various reasons. If you find that you get up in the middle of night and cannot get back to sleep within 15–20 minutes, then do not remain in the bed “trying hard” to sleep. Get out of bed. Leave the bedroom. Read, have a light snack, do some quiet activity, or take a bath. You will generally find that you can get back to sleep 20 minutes or so later. Do not perform challenging or engaging activity such as office work, housework, etc. Do not watch television.
Many people fall asleep with the television on in their room. Watching television before bedtime is often a bad idea. Television is a very engaging medium that tends to keep people up. We generally recommend that the television not be in the bedroom. At the appropriate bedtime, the TV should be turned off and the patient should go to bed. Some people find that the radio helps them go to sleep. Since radio is a less engaging medium than TV, this is probably a good idea.