A good, restful night’s sleep can do wonders to refresh the body. This, however, can be easier said than done. If you have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking in the morning, consider the following commandments of healthy sleep to get your sleeping habits back on track.
- Follow a strict schedule of going to bed and waking up. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sticking to a regular schedule will regulate our bodies’ internal clock to make falling asleep and waking up easier. However, if you are unable to fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something calm and relaxing, then go to bed again once you are tired. Obsessing about falling asleep can make the process feel like a chore and stressful, and can lead to sleep problems.
- Do not take regular, long naps during the day. It may be tempting to take a nap during an especially exhausting day, but naps can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. If you must nap during the day, limit your naps to no more than 45 minutes.
- Avoid caffeine before bedtime. The effects of caffeine take hours to wear off, so it’s best to avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime. This includes coffee, tea, soft drinks and even chocolate.
- Get comfortable. We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, so we should make it as comfortable and worthwhile as possible. Use bedding that is comfortable and meets your needs. Coordinate the amount of bedding with your preferred temperature, and make sure to set your thermostat accordingly. Remove as many distractions as possible, including lights and noises. This also includes silencing cell phones and avoiding the temptation to check any messages or social media accounts once you are in bed.
- Set boundaries. Make your bed a place for sleep. If your mind associates your bed with sleep, it will be easier for your body to relax and fall asleep. This means no TV watching, working, folding laundry, etc. while in your bed.
If you’ve tried these things, it might be time to take part in a sleep study, where we can monitor your sleep and look for sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Call us!