Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. While you might not be able to control the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt healthy sleep habits that encourage better sleep patterns. Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night here or there, but if you often have trouble sleeping, please contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.
Here are some healthy sleep habits to consider next time you are experiencing sleep issues:
• First, set aside no more than 8 hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least 7 hours.
• Second, keep a sleep schedule of the same bedtime/wake up time even on the weekends. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle. While you might be tempted to sleep in on the weekends, this can make it more difficult to wake up and fall asleep during the work week.
• Third, if you don't fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. Read or listen to soothing music. Take a warm bath.
• Fourth, don't go to bed hungry or stuffed. Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort might keep you up.
• Fifth, avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
• Sixth, exercise daily, but avoid being active too close to bedtime.
• Seventh, evaluate your room. Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means, cool, dark, and quiet. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow.
• Finally, eighth, try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.