10 Tips for Better Sleep

Follow these top 10 tips for a better night's sleep.

1. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that will allow you to unwind and send a “signal” to your brain that it’s time to sleep.

2. Maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle, even on weekends. The temptation may be to sleep in, but a regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian clock and can help with falling asleep at night.

3. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine and nicotine can delay your sleep, and alcohol may interrupt your sleep later in the night.

4. Exercise regularly, but do so at least 3 hours before bedtime.

5. If you have trouble sleeping when you go to bed don’t nap during the day, since it affects your ability to sleep at night.

6. Consider your sleep environment. Make it as pleasant, comfortable, dark, cool and quiet as you can.

7. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses.

8. If you can’t go to sleep after 30 minutes, don’t stay in bed tossing and turning. Get up and pursue a relaxing activity, such as listening to soothing music or reading, until you feel sleepy.

9. Your bed is made for sleeping - avoid taking work to bed with you, or watching TV.

10. A call to a doctor is another alternative. However, while over-the-counter medicines may help with sleep, these should be taken with caution. Your doctor can help inform you about the different types of medications available and which would be most effective for you.

The bottom line is this: Adequate sleep is as essential to health and peak performance as exercise and good nutrition.

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