Small changes can make a big difference in getting the restorative sleep you need every night. A few tips to help:
Adjust your schedule
You want to train your body to wind down at a specific time every day, which will increase your chances of falling asleep naturally at night.
- If you’ve been taking naps, that can be hampering your sleep at night. Don’t nap in the late afternoon, and don’t nap longer than 20 minutes.
- Set a specific bedtime and stick to it, even on weekends. Your goal should be between 7 to 9 hours of rest every night, so let that guide your bedtime.
Improve your habits
Your daytime activities will help promote a good night’s sleep. So make sure you develop positive habits, and you’ll be sleepy at bedtime.
- Get some exercise every single day, whether it’s biking, walking, or yoga. Movement is your goal, whatever you choose.
- Cut back on caffeine, sugary drinks, and alcohol, as they will keep you awake when you want to wind down. Make a rule – no caffeine after 12 noon!
- Get a bit of natural light exposure every morning. This helps set your internal body clock.
- Don’t eat heavy meals late in the day. Instead, eat a light dinner early so your body can digest easily.
Personalize your bedtime ritual
Help your body wind down so you stick to your schedule, and fall asleep naturally.
- Avoid watching TV or playing with your phone while in bed. Blue light exposure from screens interferes with melatonin production, and has been linked with sleep problems. Aim to shut down electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Find a relaxing activity for those 30 minutes before lights out, whether it’s stretching, massage, meditation, reading a book, etc.
- Dim your bedroom lights while you get ready for bed.
Set up your bedroom for comfort
A restful bedroom environment is best starting point. Start thinking of your bedroom as your quiet place, where you can unwind, away from the mental craziness of our world.
- Consider your mattress, bed sheets, and pillows. Could they be more comfortable? Perhaps it’s time to make a few changes. You’ll use them for approximately 8 hours every night, so they need to be as comfortable as possible.
- Keep your bedroom temperature comfortable, between 65F and 72F. Opening the window for a few minutes at bedtime might help.
- Block ambient noise, using ear plugs, a fan, or a white noise machine.
Of course, everyone’s sense of comfort is different, so think about what works best for you.
Eliminate snoring (you or your bed partner)
If you snore or sleep with a snorer, all these tips won’t be enough for a good night’s sleep. Snoring alone can disturb sleep, but it is also an indication of a serious medical condition. Obstructive sleep apnea causes disruptions in sleep and prevents deep, restorative sleep.
- Speak to a sleep specialist about your medical history to see if you are at risk of snoring being something more.
- If you are at risk, get a sleep test which can even be done at home.
- Encourage your partner to speak to a doctor about testing also.
A good night’s sleep should be high in everyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions. Contact us to learn more about sleep apnea testing or speak to one of our sleep specialists.