Sleep is foundational to good physical and mental health. While most people experience some sleep issues (difficulty falling asleep, waking in the night, difficulty returning to sleep, waking too early, restless sleep, etc.) over the course of their lifetime, poor sleep may be a symptom of a physical or psychological issue. You want to give your body the best possible chance of having a good restful sleep. These 10 tips are a good start to a great night sleep.
1. Keep a regular bedtime routine. For example, have a hot bath, put on your pyjamas, brush your teeth, and then listen to soft music and read on the couch until you start to feel sleepy and then go to bed. Having a consistent regular bedtime and routine is important. It signals your brain and body that it is time to go to sleep. Along with that, keep your bedroom a place where you sleep and have sex. Change any bad habits of watching TV in bed, eating in bed, doing work, using your laptop or phone, etc.
2. Switch to decaf. Caffeine stays in your system for approximately 12 hours. That means that if you have a coffee at six o’clock in the evening, half of the caffeine is still in your system at midnight.
3. Reduce or eliminate alcohol. Alcohol may help you fall asleep but after its initial effects wear off, it will make you wake up more often. Alcohol also affects the quality of your sleep keeping you from the deep restorative (REM) sleep your body needs.
4. Dial back the electronics. TVs, computers, and other sources of blue-light can disrupt your sleep. Turn them off an hour before bedtime.
5. Say yes to exercise. Get at least 30 minutes per day but not within 3 - 4 hours of going to bed.
6. Eat smart at night. Heavy foods can disrupt sleep but a light snack with carbs can help you sleep - try a banana.
7. Say no to tobacco. Don’t smoke within four hours of going to bed. Nicotine is a stimulant, just like caffeine and it can keep you from falling asleep.
8. Nix daytime naps. Daytime napping will undermine night-time sleep. Overcome that daytime slump with a brisk walk
9. Get up! If you’re struggling to fall asleep and you feel anxious or frustrated, get out of bed. Keep the lights low, have a light snack if you’re hungry, do something relaxing like reading or take a hot bath.
10. De-stress. Two to three hours before bed, put aside work, complicated decisions and thoughts about the cares of the day and switch to relaxation mode. If you still have a lot on your mind, jot it down and let it go for the night. Then, about an hour before you call it a night, read something calming, meditate, listen to quiet music, or take a warm bath.