Similar to training for sports or changing your diet, improving your sleep can take some time, but keep it a priority and you will start seeing some amazing results. These 10 tips by the Sleep Health Foundation will help you fast track your sleep quality and quantity.
1. Have a Regular Sleep Pattern
Try to go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at the same time every morning. This will help your body to work out a healthy sleep routine.
2. Spend the Right Amount of Time in Bed
Most adults need about 8 hours sleep every night. Some require more and some less. Many poor sleepers spend much more than 8 hours in bed and this makes fragmented sleep a habit. Except if you have lengthy sleep requirements, limit your time in bed to no more than 8.5 hours. If you often take hours to fall asleep, go to bed later. Remember that children need more sleep than adults.
3. Bed Is For Sleeping, Not Entertainment
Television, computers and other distractions can interfere with your sleep. It is better not to sleep with your TV on. Your mind needs to be in the habit of knowing that if you are in bed, you are there to sleep. Don’t stay in bed if you are wide awake.
4. Wind Down and Relax Before Going to Bed
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 to avoid using your computer within one hour of bedtime as the blue screen will suppress the hormone that makes us sleepy. Exercise is fine, but not too late in the evening. Find a relaxation technique that works for you.
5. Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Comfortable
You should have a quiet, dark room with comfortable bedding and good temperature control.
6. Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine and Cigarettes
Alcohol may help you to get off to sleep, but will disrupt your sleep during the night. Caffeine (tea, coffee, energy drinks) and the nicotine in cigarettes are stimulants that can keep you awake.
7. Avoid Daytime Naps
Sleeping during the day will make it much more difficult to sleep well at night. If a nap is necessary, for example because of a late night, then limit this to about thirty minutes. Make sure that you are awake for at least 4 hours before going back to bed. Don’t allow yourself to fall asleep in front of the TV – not even for a minute.
8. Don’t Lie Awake Watching the Clock
Watching the time on a clock just makes you anxious about not being asleep. If possible take the clock out of your bedroom. If you need the clock for the alarm, turn it around so that you cannot see the time.
9. Avoid Sleeping Pills Except in Exceptional Circumstances
They do not fix the cause of your sleeping problem.
10. You May Need Professional Help
If you are still having trouble sleeping, if you have persistent problems with mood, restlessness in bed, severe snoring or not waking feeling refreshed despite what should be adequate length sleep, make sure that you go and see your doctor.
*Source: Sleep Health Foundation