5 tips for a better night’s sleep
Falling asleep isn't always an easy task but getting a good night's rest might be easier than you think. Researchers have identified some beneficial "sleep hygiene" habits that will aide in falling asleep faster. Here are five easy ways to make sure you're getting a good night's rest.
- Stick to a strict schedule The National Sleep Foundation advises getting into a bedtime routine and sticking to it - even on weekends. Being consistent can condition your body's internal clock and will help you fall asleep faster. Waking up at the same time every day is the best way to set this internal clock.
- Avoid caffeine nicotine and alcohol Most coffee drinkers are aware that caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you up at night. If you drink caffeinated beverages avoid doing so four to six hours before bedtime. Smokers should also refrain from using any tobacco products too close to bedtime as nicotine can disrupt the sleep cycle. While alcohol might make you fall asleep after a few hours it acts as a stimulant and can increase your number of awakenings at night. This could lead to a poor quality of sleep throughout the night.
- Limit daytime napping If you're having trouble sleeping at night long naps might be interfering with your schedule. If you must nap try to limit it to 30 minutes and avoid napping after 5 p.m.
- Create a peaceful environment A cool quiet and dark environment is ideal for sleeping. Avoid light-emitting screens from cell phones laptops and televisions before bedtime. If sunlight becomes a problem consider using blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out the light that wakes you up.
- Add exercise to your daily routine Incorporating physical activity can be an important part of getting better sleep - just be sure to exercise early in the day. If you don't have time for a full workout a light exercise is better than nothing.
Lastly know when it's time to contact your doctor. Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night but if you have trouble sleeping on a regular basis it might be time to let your doctor know. Recognizing and treating any underlying causes can help you get the sleep that you need on a regular basis.
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