Sound sleep is important to your overall health and well-being. Sleep helps the body restore itself for the next day by recharging your body and your brain. When you get a good night’s sleep, not only do you feel physically better, you are better at solving problems, coping with stress, controlling your emotions, and processing and retaining information. This evening, while preparing for bed, consider the following secrets to sound sleep.
Set a sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning with the goal of getting at least 7 hours of sleep. Most adults don’t need more than 8 hours of sleep each night to meet sleep recommendations. This doesn’t just apply to Monday through Friday—follow this pattern on the weekends, too. Consistency reinforces your body’s sleep/wake cycle and promotes better sleep at night.
Create a sleep friendly bedroom. A sleep-friendly bedroom promotes sleep through comfort and relaxation. Learn about key characteristics of a sleep-friendly bedroom here.
Eat and drink smartly. Be sure not to consume any caffeinated drinks or foods close to bedtime. Try to finish eating 2-3 hours before your bedtime, and avoid going to bed hungry or overly full. Also, try to limit how much you drink before bedtime—this can help prevent middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom, which interrupt sleep.
Find a bedtime routine. By doing the same activities each night before bed, you can train your body to wind down in preparation for sleep.
Turn off your electronics. The light, noise and stimulation from electronics—including TVs and cell phones—can keep you from getting a full night’s rest.
Address your stress before bedtime for more restful sleep. Stress from the day can become overwhelming at night if you’re unable to quiet your mind.
Keep a sleep journal. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, a sleep journal may help determine why. Write down the time you go to bed each night and the time you wake up. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and can identify a reason behind it, write that down, too. Take note of how you feel in the morning—rested, tired or exhausted. This can help you to identify any changes you may need to make to improve your sleep.
Many people occasionally have a poor night’s sleep or trouble getting to sleep, but if you frequently suffer from sleep issues, contact your primary care physician. Your doctor can take steps to identify and treat underlying causes of sleep issues.