Sleep Better Tips

How to sleep better

 

Many people have problems falling or staying asleep. Sleep problems can be caused by your body, mind, or outside factors. When you’re lying in bed at night and can’t fall or stay asleep, here are some possible reasons.

 

Body: You could be overstimulated by your pre-bed workout or cup of coffee with dinner.

 

Mind: You could be anxious about an important presentation or excited for a party.

 

Outside factors: Maybe you are awakened by a neighbour’s dog or a loud thunderstorm.

 

There are things you can do to sleep better, including improving common problem areas, creating a good sleeping environment and establishing a healthy sleep routine.

 

Some problem areas that can cause you to have trouble falling or staying asleep

 

Caffeine: stimulates the brain and interferes with sleep. Try to use caffeine as needed to help with tiredness in the morning. Regular use during the day can lead to sleep problems at night. If you are having trouble falling asleep, you should not drink more than 2 cups of coffee a day, and try to avoid having any after lunch. Common sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate & certain medicines.

 

Nicotine: stimulates the brain, causes you to have trouble falling asleep and can make your sleep worse. Tobacco products, like cigarettes and chewing tobacco contain large quantities of nicotine. If you quit smoking, your sleep may be worse while you are in withdrawal. After your body adjusts, you will fall asleep faster and wake up less during the night.

 

Alcohol: may help you fall asleep if you drink it around bedtime since it slows brain activity, however, it is bad for your sleep. It can make you wake up during the night and give you nightmares. You may also have a headache the next morning. Avoid alcohol within 4-6 hours of bedtime.

 

Food: Eating too close to bedtime, heavy meals or foods that upset your stomach can negatively affect your sleep. Some people find a light snack at bedtime helps them to sleep.

 

Exercise: Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Time your exercise to end over 6 hours before your bedtime to avoid trouble sleeping. Boredom and too little physical activity during the day can make it harder to fall asleep.

 

Electronic devices: The artificial light generated by a laptop, tablet or cell phone screen can interfere with your body’s sleepiness cues. Turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before your bedtime.

 

 

Tips to help create a good sleeping environment

  • Make sure you have a comfortable bed in a dark, quiet room
  • Try blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out the light
  • Try a white noise machine or earplugs to block out sound
  • Make sure your room is a comfortable temperature. Generally, a room around 20 degrees Celsius is best for sleep, however, temperature preferences vary for different people

 

How to establish a healthy sleep schedule

  • Get up at the same time every day, even on the weekend or during vacations
  • Avoid taking naps if possible. Limit napping time to less than 1 hour, and never take a nap after 3 pm
  • Only use your bed for sleeping, having sex and recovering from illness
  • Have a regular schedule for meals, medications, chores and other activities. This will help your inner body clock run smoothly
  • Find rituals that help you relax each night before bed. Some rituals can include having a warm bath, light snack or reading for a few minutes
  • If you find yourself always worrying at bedtime, try to a designate a specific time during the day to write down your worries and get those feelings out of your system
  • Try to have a regular sleep schedule, but don’t go to bed until you are sleepy
  • If you are unable to fall or stay asleep within 20 minutes, get up. Try a quiet activity, and do not return to bed until you feel tired.

 

If you continue to experience problems after trying these solutions, talk to a health care provider.

 

Source: The American Academy Of Sleep Medicine. www.aasmnet.org (brochure)

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