7 Ways to Get Better Sleep

If there’s anything to look forward to after a long, hectic day it’s a restful night’s sleep. Getting adequate sleep (6-8 hours if you’re an adult), is an essential part of overall health. Research proves that getting good sleep has surprising benefits and is just as important as diet and exercise. When you get the proper shut eye you’re more likely to keep your weight in check, can stave off depression, improve memory, and avoid accidents.

But if you’re tossing and turning each night and can’t seem to the sleep you need, there are ways to make your bedtime routine better, and get the benefits that come along with a good night’s sleep. These tips come from Mayo Clinic.

  1. Create a Sanctuary
    • Keep your bedroom comfortable, cool and dark. If you don’t have air conditioning, try a fan. A little white noise can help too. Keep your shades or curtain closed.

    • Invest in a comfortable bed, sheets and pillows. You spend a lot of time in bed, so why not make sure it’s as comfortable as possible? It’s worth a little extra money.

    • Turn off the technology. Make your bedroom a place only for relaxation and sleep. No TV, computer, or smartphones, all of which can distract you and make it more difficult to relax.

  2. Bedtime Ritual
    • The same things that work for your children, work for you. Create a bedtime ritual and stick with it. This may include dimming the lights, reading a book or taking a warm bath or shower. Once these rituals become a habit, your body will know that sleep is coming and prepare accordingly.

  3. Stick to a Schedule
    • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning, including weekends and vacations. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and promotes a good night’s sleep.

    • If you can’t doze off within 15 minutes because you aren’t feeling tired, get up and do something until you do feel tired. Then try to lie down again.

  4. Pay Attention to What you Eat and Drink
    • Don’t go to bed too full or on an empty stomach. Both can cause discomfort at night. Don’t drink too much before bed, or you may be making an unwanted trip to the bathroom amidst slumber.

    • Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Caffeine and nicotine both have stimulating properties and can keep you up at night. Try not to have any caffeine past 2 p.m. Even a little alcohol can disrupt your sleep.

  5. Exercise
    • Getting in a good work-out during the day promotes a good slumber at night. When you exercise, your body is ready to fall asleep faster and also enables a deeper sleep.

    • Don’t exercise too close to bedtime though. Your body may be too energized to fall asleep. Try exercising at least three hours before you go to bed.

  6. Limit Naps
    • Napping is a great way to catch a few extra zzzs and re-energize. Don’t nap for too long or it will interfere with night sleeping. Limit naps to about 10-30 minutes during the midafternoon.

  7. Manage Stress
  8. When you have a lot going on, and your mind is racing, it’s difficult to settle down for a good night’s rest. Try to relieve stress by getting organized, stretching before bed, and deep breathing.

  9. Make a list of priorities for the next day, and then put it aside.

  10. Make time for yourself to relax and spend time doing things you enjoy.

Sometimes lack of sleep can be a sign of a medical problem. If you try all of the above and still can’t manage to get a good night’s sleep, contact your doctor.

About the Author...
Liz Hayes
Liz loves spending time outdoors, working out, traveling, taking in the arts, reading and catching up on TV.
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