Improving Your Sleep
Maintaining healthy sleep patterns is an essential part of staying healthy and happy, but maintaining your sleep doesn’t begin and end with when you go to bed. Check out these other factors that might be affecting how well you sleep.
During the Day
Maintain a schedule, even on the weekend:
When you have a regular schedule, it is much easier for your body to fall asleep and wake up than if you have one that varies.
Exercise early in the day:
Moderate aerobic activity can improve sleep quality. For best results, exercise at least three hours before bedtime so your body has enough time to wind down before going to sleep.
Eating too much or too soon before bedtime will keep your digestive organs working when they want to wind down. This can make you uncomfortable when you are trying to fall asleep. Also, eating something sugary may keep you awake too long.
It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, to make sure that you are tired at bedtime. If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it’s for less than an hour and before 3pm.
Train your brain:
Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping and sex, so your body comes to associate bed with sleep. If you use your bed as a place to watch TV, eat, read, work on your laptop, and other things, your body will not learn this connection.
In the Evening
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can all interfere with sleep. Try to stay away from them in the hours before bed.
Avoid drinking liquids too close to bedtime:
Consider cutting off your water supply an hour or two before bed to save yourself multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Dim the lights:
Exposure to electrical lights between sunset and bedtime may negatively affect your sleep. Dim the lights closer to bedtime.
Turn off the screens:
The artificial blue light emitted by screens can confuse our bodies and disrupt our ability to sleep. Reduce exposure by turning off TVs, phones, and computers at least one hour before bedtime. If you find it difficult to unplug, try apps like lux and Koala Web Browser that reduce the amount of blue light your devices emit.
Establish a routine:
Establish a calming pre-sleep routine to help you wind down and relax. Try reading a book or listening to music instead of watching TV.
Having a hot bath 1-2 hours before bedtime can be useful, as it will raise your body temperature, causing you to feel sleepy as your body temperature drops again. Research shows that sleepiness is associated with a drop in body temperature.