Sleep is so important but sometimes a good night’s sleep can be simply elusive. So many things can interupt our sleep to include...children, pets, a snoring partner, a worried mind, even TV and bright lights. Most sleep experts agree that healthy adults need a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Women, on average, seem to be more sleep-deprived than men. According to research from the Better Sleep Council, 68% of the women in a survey said they slept less than 8 hours per night. Stress-related to work or family issues; colds and allergies; and uncomfortable mattresses or pillows can all contribute to sleep problems. If you’re having trouble falling and staying asleep, or feeling drowsy during the day, read these tips to learn how to sleep better.
- Establish a regular bedtime routine and wake-up schedule.Setting established times for sleeping and waking up -- even on weekends -- is one way to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms. Performing the same soothing activities each night (soaking in a warm bath, listening to calm music, or reading a book) also cues your body to fall asleep.
- Relax and Unwind: Nighttime tends to be when many of us pay bills, work on the computer, discuss family issues and catch up with household chores. But these activities activate your problem-solving side and can ratchet up your worries and stress. Stop them about two to three hours before you’re ready for sleep. (If you’re unable to “turn off” your brain even after finishing your work, talk to your doctor about relaxation therapy, or try some restful yoga poses.)
- Move and exercise everyday: Research shows that people who exercise daily - say, 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise - have better luck falling asleep. But plan accordingly: If exercise energizes you, don’t do it before bedtime, instead try to workout about four hours before bedtime.
- Make Environmental Changes In The Bedroom: Use your bedroom just for sleep and sex, not working on a laptop, watching TV or playing video games. Reading can help you relax and feel drowsy, but not if you do it in a bright room; use a book light or a 45-watt bulb at your bedside table. Create an environment that is dark, cool, comfortable and conducive to sleep with dark curtains, a fan, a sound soother or white-noise machine, an eyeshade and earplugs (especially if your partner snores). We recommend earplugs with a noise level at 32 or below so you can still hear a fire alarm or your alarm clock. Incidentally, if having your alarm clock within view makes you anxious, tuck it out of sight in a drawer or on the floor by the bed.
- Upgrade your bedding and mattress: If you can’t remember when you bought your mattress, you’re probably due for a new one. A good quality mattress lasts approximately 9 or 10 years. Replace all bedding with temperature regulating bedding to help keep your bed cool and temperature regulated. When you're overheated or too cold you won't sleep well.
- Don't Eat Much Before Bedtime: Finish eating your last large meal at least two hours before you go to bed, especially if you’re having spicy foods, which can cause heartburn. Instead snack on nuts, yogurt, glass of milk or string cheese if you must. Milk or yogurt contain L-tryptophan, which helps your body settle down.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking at night: Alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes are stimulants that make falling asleep difficult. We recommend having coffee, tea, chocolate or soda in the morning or early afternoon and switching to water after 3 p.m. to ensure that the caffeine is out of your system. If you like a drink or two with dinner, follow up each glass with an equal amount of water, which will keep you from becoming dehydrated and allow you to sleep peacefully.