A good night’s sleep always helps the body and mind to heal. It’s essential to get a good night’s sleep but do you get it? There are many factors that affect the quality of your sleep. Here are 20 tips on to improve your quality of sleep.
The soft blue glow from a cell phone, tablet or digital clock on your bedside table may hurt your sleep. Turn off blue light sources an hour before you go to bed. Cover displays you can’t shut off.
This will help you sleep better at night. If you have to snooze while the sun is up, keep it to 20 minutes max. As early as possible in the day is best. Overcome that after lunch energy slump with a short walk, a glass of ice water or a phone call.
Block the clock
Do you glance at the clock several times a night? That can activate your mind with thoughts about the coming day or problem solving.
Try a leg pillow for back pain
If you have lower back pain that doesn’t wake you, it can still interfere with deep, restful sleep. Put a pillow between your legs to better align your hips and reduce stress on your lower back. Try sleeping on your sides and keep sleeping on your back to a minimum.
Put your neck in “neutral”
Blame your pillow if you wake up tired with a stiff neck. It should be just the right size, not to fat and not too flat, to support the natural curve of your neck when you’re resting on your back. Don’t sleep on your tummy. It twists your neck. I love my “my pillow” pillow
Seal your mattress
Sneezes, sniffles and itches from allergies can interfere with sleep. Your mattress may be the cause. Over time, it can contaminate with mold, dust mites etc. Seal the mattress with an air-tight, plastic, dust proof cover or, better still, replace the mattress.
Save your bed for sleep and intimacy
Your bedroom should feel relaxing. Don’t sit in bed to work, surf the internet or watch tv. Mind the temperature. The best sleep temperature for most people is between 68 and 72 degrees “f”.
Set your body clock
Go to sleep and wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays. This routine will get your brain and body used to being on a healthy sleep/awake schedule. In time, this will help so you are able to nod off quickly and rest soundly through the night. Get out in bright light for 5 to 30 minutes as soon as possible once you are out of bed. Light tells your body to get going.
Be aware of hidden caffeine
I don’t do coffee, but coffee in the morning is fine for most people. However, as soon as the clock strikes noon, try to avoid caffeine in foods and drinks. Even small amounts of caffeine as found in chocolate can affects how well you sleep. It may help to read labels since certain over the counter meds contain caffeine.
Work out wisely
Regular exercise helps us sleep better, as long as it doesn’t occur too close to bedtime. The post-workout burst of energy can keep you awake well into the early hours. Try to finish any vigorous exercise 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
Eat right at night
Don’t eat heavy foods or big meals too late into the evening. This overloads your digestive system and interferes with how well you sleep. Try a late evening light snack of cereal with milk, or crackers and cheese.
Rethink that drink
Alcohol can make one a bit sleepy at night, but beware. After those initial effects wear off, it will tend to make you wake up more often during the night. Gotta love those multiple middle of the night trips to the bathroom.
Beware the time you have that before bed sip
Want to lower the odds of needing nighttime trips to the bathroom? Don’t have anything to drink during the last two hours before bed. Part of the problem with waking up to make that trek to the bathroom is the difficulty you can have trying to get back to sleep. Suddenly your mind has slipped into gear and there are a dozen questions that need to be solved. Also consider a nightlight in the bathroom to cut down on bright light.
Lower the lights
In preparation for bedtime, start to dim the lights 2 or 3 hours before bedtime. Lower light levels signal your brain to produce melatonin, the hormone that brings on sleep. If you read for a while before bed, try using a 15 watt bulb.
Cut back on noise
Faucet drips, nearby traffic or a loud dog can interfere with your sleep. If you are a parent, you might be all too aware of noises at night long after your children have outgrown the crib. It may help to use a fan, an airconditioner or some sort of white noise device.
Some people like to use ear plugs.
Nicotine is a stimulant similar to caffeine. Tobacco can keep you from falling asleep and make insomnia worse. Sometimes it can take several tries before you can break the habit. Your doctor can help.
Beds are intended for people
Having your pet dog, cat or hamster share the bed may seem like a sweet cuddly idea, but the night moves of these critters can interfere with your sleep. Especially when you consider that a dog can weight 30+ pounds and when parked on top of you sleep might be a challenge. They can also bring unwanted guests such as fleas, fur, dander and pollen into your bed. Your vet may have a suggestion about how to teach your pet to sleep happily in it’s own bed.
Free your mind
Put aside all work, touchy discussions or complicated decisions 2 to 3 hours before bed. It takes time to shut down the “noise” of the day. If you have a lot on your mind, make notes then put the issue aside. Read something calming, meditate, listen to soothing music or take a warm bath.
Caution sleeping pills
Some sleep medications can become habit forming or have negative side effects. Ideally these should be used on a short term basis only. Consult with your doctor to confirm what is ok.
When to see your doctor
Let her know if your sleeplessness persists for more than a month. She will be able to check to see if you have an underlying health condition such as acid reflux, arthritis, asthma etc. She can also confirm that any meds you are taking are not contributing factors.