Creating a Healthy Sleep Routine
Quality of sleep at night affects our ability to perform the next day. Mood and overall health are also tied to the quality of sleep we get each night. We all have nights when we can't fall asleep. Life stresses, medical conditions, or maybe a noisy party next door. Whether you have short-term or chronic insomnia, there are steps you can take to sleep easier.
Environmental Strategies for Healthy SleepWe love to be comfortable, warm, and cozy. Going to bed at night should give you the same feeling. Look at your surroundings and see if you can make changes in the bedroom. Here are some options to think about:
- Make sure you have a comfortable, supportive mattress andfoundation.
- Your bedroom should be very dark. Invest in shades and curtains that keep outthe maximum of light.
- Try sleep masks.
- If noise keeps you awake, try earplugs or white noise (a machine that uses static noise to drown out disturbingnoise).
- Be sure that the temperature of the room is cool.
- Avoid any distractions like TVs, computers, or cell phones in the bedroom. Noises and lights are distracting.
Behavioral Strategies for Healthy SleepYour body learns to respond to what you do out of habit. If you think about it, you have sleep habits too. Some of the things you may be doing make it hard for your body and mind to relax and unwind. A nightly routine will help make your body ready for sleep. Remember new habits take some time, so be patient and keep trying new things.Use the daytime hours to get ready for sleep at night:
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine (coffee, tea, cola,or chocolate) in the evening. The time will vary depending on your tolerance.
- Set aside some time forworrying and dealing with upsetting situations.
- Exercise regularly, but not within 3 hours ofbedtime.
- Try not to nap during the day, but especially not after 3 pm.
- Don't stay up too late. Make sleep a priority.
- Go to bed at the same time each night, even on your days off.
- Use your bed for sleep and sex only.
- Take a warm bath to relax before going to bed.
- Have a light snack about a few hoursbefore bed, but avoid spicy foods or large meals which can cause heartburn.
- Avoid drinking a lot of water before bedtime or you may need tourinate frequently during the night.
- Check ingredients on cold medicines to see if they contain caffeine or other stimulants.