Your quality of sleep directly affects your physical and mental health. Fall short of the amount of sleep you need and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance and even your weight! There are steps you can take to have a better night’s sleep. The tossing and turning and struggling to fall asleep can become a thing of the past. Simple but important changes to both your daytime routine and nighttime habits can have a profound impact on how you sleep.
1. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.
By going to sleep at a consistent time every night you help to set your internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bedtime around the time you normally feel tired, so that you won’t lie awake for hours. If you are getting enough sleep, your body should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you find you need an alarm, you may want to consider setting an earlier bedtime.
2. Avoid sleeping in late – even on weekends.
The more your weekday and weekend sleep habits differ, the worse the “jetlag-like” symptoms will be. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This will allow you to pay off your sleep debt without interfering with your natural wake-sleep rhythm.
3. When it is time to go to bed, make sure the room is dark.
The blue light emitted from your phone, computer and TV all make it harder for you to fall asleep. Use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows or try a sleep mask. Your brain secrets more melatonin when it is dark – making you sleepy!
4. Exercise during the day.
People who exercise regularly tend to sleep better at night and feel less fatigued during the day. Regular exercise also helps to improve the symptoms of insomnia and increases the amount of time one spends in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Even if you are unable to exercise vigorously, just walking for 10 minutes a day can improve your overall sleep quality.
5. Limit caffeine.
Did you know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to twelve hours after drinking it! Limit your caffeine intake throughout the day and especially at bedtime.
6. Wind down and clear your head.
Many people note that their sleeping problems are the result of residual stress, worry or anger from the day. Practice relaxation techniques before going to bed at night to wind down and prepare for sleep. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation and warm baths are all ways to unwind from the stress of the day. Take the time to discover the bedtime relaxation routine that works best for you.
7. Improve the comfort of your sleep environment.
Making sure you are completely comfortable in your sleep environment is important in achieving a quality night’s sleep. Make sure the room is quite and cool. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (65°F). A bedroom that is too cold or too hot can interfere with your quality of sleep.
8. Learn ways to fall back asleep.
It is normal to wake up briefly during the night, but if you are having trouble falling back asleep, avoid looking at your phone or turning on your TV. Keep the lights dim and focus on relaxing.
If you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep at night, do not hesitate to talk with your doctor at Greenville Women’s Clinic. Healthy sleep habits are the foundation of healthy lives.