Seven Tips for Healthy SleepFrom BioBrite Inc.
- Manage the Light Environment: Light is a major factor in sleep quality. For optimal sleeping, total darkness is best. Televisions, computers, even cell phones should be avoided before bedtime because the blue light they emit tends to stimulate your senses, making sleep more difficult. Even the lighted digits of an alarm clock or cell phone can interfere with sleep. Good window shades can help to prevent outside light from coming into the bedroom. Use a dawn simulator (SunRise Clock) to manage light naturally so you wake up to a gradually brightening light in the morning and fall asleep to a fading sunset at night.
- Manage the Physical Environment: If possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Staying on a schedule can help you fall asleep more easily at night and reinforce your body’s sleep-wake pattern. Adjust the temperature to your preferences. Usually a cooler environment is preferable. You will sleep better in a fresh air environment rather than a stuffy bedroom. Of course, it’s important to sleep on a comfortable pillow and mattress, and sleep in a quiet bedroom.
- Relax before Bedtime: Establish time before bedtime that is relaxing. Activities like reading, listening to quiet music can be done with dimmer lights to help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleepiness. Using a white noise generator that shuts out sounds that may keep you awake or using a sound generator may improve your sleep. Sleep sounds like waves on a beach or gentle rain can help one to relax. Some people like a hot bath or a hot cup of (decaffeinated) tea before bed.
- Avoid Stimulants and Sleeping Pills: Stay away from caffeine, alcohol and nicotine in the evening. These are stimulants that can keep you awake. Sleeping pills can be addictive and are best avoided. However, if they appear to be needed as a last resort be sure to contact a health practitioner.
- Get Regular Exercise: As little as twenty to thirty minutes a day is helpful. It is better to complete your exercise at least a few hours before bedtime but not just before bedtime.
- Food and Liquids: Don’t eat or drink too much before bedtime. Try to eat or drink at least 2 to 3 hours before sleeping. Food before sleep can cause discomfort and too much liquid can cause you to wake too much during the night.
- Establish a routine: Sleep mainly at night. Naps can take away from sleep during your nighttime hours. A general guideline for adults is 7-8 hours a night, and teenagers need up to 9 hours. If you wake up groggy and tired this is a sign that you may need to increase your sleep intake.
These sleep tips generally apply to everyone, but exceptions may apply to certain adults. Chronic sleep problems may indicate sleep apnea or other serious disorders, and a health practitioner should be consulted.
For further information you can reference the websites of the National Sleep Foundation, the Mayo Clinic, the National Institutes of Health and BioBrite.com.