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Tips to getting a good night’s sleep

Photo credit: Absolute Wellness Center

Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life.

Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight and health.

Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need. There is a solution.

Making simple but important changes to your daytime routine and bedtime habits can have a profound impact on how well you sleep, leaving you feeling mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.

. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends.

This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.

A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.

. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.

Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.

. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.

. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep.

Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees.

Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep.

Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noise or other distractions.

This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring.

Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.

. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive.

The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses.

Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up in the night.

. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and heavy meals in the evening.

Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep.

If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed.

. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading.

For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain.

If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.

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