HEALTH learns the top 10 tips to getting a great night’s sleep.
Have and stick to a regular bedtime and wake up schedule – Try to go to bed and get up about the same time each night and morning – even on weekends. This will help your body to work out a healthy sleep routine.
Make sure the time that you set for your bedtime is a time in which you are sleepy – Do not go to bed too soon or you may have trouble falling asleep or your sleep may be restless. Most adults need about eight hours of sleep every night. Some require more and some less. Many poor sleepers spend much more than eight hours in bed and this makes fragmented sleep a habit. Unless if you have lengthy sleep requirements, limit your time in bed to no more than eight and a half hours.
Do not nap – Sleeping during the day will make it much more difficult to sleep well at night. If a nap is absolutely necessary, for example because of a late night, then limit this to about half an hour. Make sure that you are awake for at least four hours before going back to bed. Try skipping your nap and see if your regular sleep patterns improve.
Make your bedroom a “quiet” comfortable room – You should have a quiet, dark room with comfortable bedding and good temperature control. Using an eye mask and/or earplugs can also be very effective.
Establish relaxing before-bed routines – Have a buffer zone before bedtime. Sort out any problems well before going to bed. This may mean setting aside a ‘worry time’ during the day. Use this time to go over the day’s activities and work out a plan of action for the next day. Try and avoid heavy, stressful conversations in the hour before bedtime. Take a bath, drink a glass of warm milk, or do some light reading before bedtime – avoid blue light given off from electronic devices.
Develop relaxation techniques – Learn yoga, deep breathing, quiet mediation, or listen to soft music while trying to fall asleep.
Avoid stimulants – Do not use stimulants or drink things that contain caffeine (tea, coffee, and cola) six hours before bedtime.
Do not use tobacco products close to bedtime – Use of this may calm you at the time of use, but they can have disrupting effects on your sleep during the night without you knowing it.
Exercise regularly – Regular activity helps the body and mind healthy, but be sure to avoid vigorous exercise right before bedtime.
You may require professional help – If you are still having trouble sleeping, if you have persistent problems with mood, restlessness in bed, snoring or waking up unrefreshed, despite an adequate amount of sleep, visit a sleep specialist.