Getting a good night’s sleep

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Think about all the factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep — from work stress and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, such as illnesses. It’s no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive.

While you might not be able to control the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep.

Sleep deprivation can lead to forgetfulness and problems in
concentration. To sleep better, consider these suggestions:
• Limit time in bed
Spending too much time in bed usually disrupts sleep in the middle of the night.
• Don’t try too hard to sleep
Read or watch TV until you become drowsy, and then go to your bedroom to fall asleep naturally. Try to maintain a regular time for going to bed and for getting up.
• Hide the clock
A visible readout of how long you’ve been unable to sleep may worry you needlessly.
• Avoid or limit caffeine, smoking and alcohol

Caffeine is a stimulant. Nicotine also can interfere with sleep.
And although alcohol is a depressant and may help you doze off, it can disrupt restful sleep.
• Exercise and stay active
Regular physical activity and exercise contribute to a restful sleep. Aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise on most days. Avoid exercising too close to your bedtime so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
• Watch what you eat before you sleep
A light snack may help you relax before sleeping, but avoid heavy meals and foods that could cause heartburn. Drink less liquid before bedtime so that you won’t have to go to the bathroom as often.
• Avoid or limit naps
Daytime naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you really need a nap, limit it to 30 minutes or less.
• Check your medications
Ask your doctor if any of your medications — both prescrip- tion and nonprescription — may contribute to insomnia.

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