You don’t have to toss and turn every night. Follow simple tips for better sleep, from setting a sleep schedule to incorporating physical activity into your daily routine
Think about all the factors that can interfere with restful sleep, from the stress of work and family obligations to unexpected challenges such as illness. It’s no wonder that good sleep can sometimes be elusive.
If you can’t control the factors that disrupt sleep, you can develop habits that promote better rest. Start with these simple tips.
- Stick to a sleep schedule
Don’t set aside more than eight hours to sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to keep the difference between your weekday and weekend sleep schedules to no more than one hour. If you are regular, your body’s sleep-wake rhythm will be reinforced.
If you haven’t fallen asleep in 20 minutes, leave your room and do something relaxing. Read or listen to relaxing music. Go back to bed when you are tired. Repeat the process if necessary.
Be careful what you eat and drink.
Don’t go to bed hungry or full. Especially avoid heavy or hearty meals in the two hours before bedtime. Discomfort can keep you awake.
Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol should also be used with caution. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can affect sleep quality. Alcohol makes you drowsy but can disrupt your sleep late at night. 3.
- Create a restful environment
Create an ideal sleeping space. This often means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light can make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of screens that emit light just before bedtime. Consider using blackout curtains, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create a suitable environment.
Calming activities before bed, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, can promote better sleep.
- Limit nap time
Long naps can interfere with sleep at night. If you decide to take a nap, limit it to no more than 30 minutes and avoid taking it in the late evening.
However, if you work nights, you may need to take a late afternoon nap before work to make up for your sleep deficit.
- Make physical activity part of your daily routine.
Regular physical activity can help you sleep. However, avoid activities that take place too close to bedtime.
Spending time outdoors each day can also be helpful.
- Manage anxiety
Try to deal with your worries before you go to bed. Write down what’s on your mind and put it off until tomorrow.
Stress management can help. Start with the basics, such as organization, prioritization and delegation of tasks. Meditation can also relieve anxiety.