A good night’s sleep can help you restore sore muscles, calm your stress, regulate your metabolism and help you focus during the day. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep.
Here are 10 ways to help you sleep better:
- Power down. Turn off TVs, computers, smart phones and any other blue-light source about an hour before you go to bed. Cover displays that you can’t shut off.
- Support your neck. Your pillow should support the natural curve of your spine, not too think and not too flat.
- Dim the lights. Start dimming the lights at home about 2 hours before bedtime. Lower lights signal your brain to make melatonin, the hormone that brings on sleep.
- Rise and shine. Get your body used to going to sleep and waking up at about the same time every day, even on weekends. To help you reset your body clock, get out in bright light for 5 to 30 minutes as soon as you get up. Light tells your body to “rise and shine.”
- Use white noise. Constant, low level noise can muffle barking dogs, the neighbors’ music or nearby traffic. You can use an app or a sound machine. If needed, you can use ear plugs.
- Let Fido snooze in his own bed. A pet’s movement can interrupt your sleep, they might play with your toes or just take over your space in bed. They can also trigger allergies. Provide a cozy bed elsewhere in the house and teach your pets to respect your bed.
- Relax before bed. Develop a relaxing pre-bedtime routine. Avoid stimulating activities and instead take a warm bath, listen to soft music, do light stretching or practice relaxation techniques.
- Exercise early. It’s hard to find time to exercise, but try to do it as early as possible. Morning is better, but if you must exercise in the evening, try to do it at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Let it go. Your mental well-being is as important as your physical well-being. Worry, stress and anger make it difficult to go to sleep and stay asleep. Try deep breathing relaxation to help calm your mind before going to bed.
- Make a list of your medications. Some over-the-counter medicines may contain stimulants that interfere with your sleep. If you have difficulty going to sleep for more than a month, talk with your doctor about the issue and ask that they review your medication list with you.
Sleep is a period of rejuvenation and repair. Your heart, brain, blood sugar, mood, ability to focus and your weight are all affected by the amount of sleep you get. Sleep deserves more credit for our health than what we give it. Follow these recommendations and talk with a family doctor or sleep medicine specialist to get to the bottom of your sleep troubles. You will feel better.
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