Without quality sleep we begin to lose the ability to concentrate, solve problems, remember, stay alert and function at high levels of our ability.
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping and intimacy. If you have trouble falling asleep don’t read, study, answer email or anything that stimulates thought while in bed. Make sure your bedding & pillow are comfortable.
- Keep the room dark with window shades and avoid visible bedroom clocks with a brightly lighted dial.
Any light from doors, windows, night lights or from electronic devices can stimulate the wake cycle.
- Sleep is better in a cool room, around 65˚F. As we fall asleep the body needs to naturally cool down at the core.
- Create a relaxing atmosphere with soothing music, a cooling fan or a playlist of peaceful nature sounds. If noise or distractions prevent you from falling asleep, use earplugs.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation. Practice throughout the day and before bedtime to promote the relaxation response in the brain and body.
- Exercise regularly during the day so that your body feels tired enough to want rest at bedtime. Allow 4 hours after exercise before trying to sleep.
- Maintain a regular sleep/wake cycle by going to bed and rising at the same time everyday. Keep this time consistent, even on the weekends. The optimum amount of sleep is 7 to 8.5 hours per night for adults.
- Nap 20–30 minutes, if daytime sleepiness becomes overwhelming. But no later than 4 p.m.
Keep in mind
- Drinking alcoholic and/or caffeinated beverages within four to six hours of bedtime will disrupt sleep cycles.
- Eating large meals or consuming a high amount of fluids late in the evening will delay the ability to fall asleep.
- If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Then go back to bed and try to sleep.