7 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Or do you wake up feeling drowsy, a sign that you tossed and turned during the night? Here are seven tips you can try that may help you to get a good night's sleep.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — even on weekends.
This may help keep your internal clock in sync. The Better Sleep Council suggests developing a sleep ritual by doing the same things at night just before bed — just like you might do with your kids. A standard routine will help your body unwind and get into sleep mode.
Prepare your bedroom for sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the bed and bedroom should be used for sleep and sex only. That means keeping your TV, laptop, smartphone, and other distractions out of the bedroom! Also, make sure your room is dark and at a comfortable temperature for you.
Check your mattress.
The Better Sleep Council says your mattress has the potential to either encourage or rob you of sleep. If you're tossing and turning at night, or wake up stiff or sore, it may be time to shop for a new mattress.
Get your exercise, but do it early.
Because your body temperature rises during exercise, and may take up to six hours to drop (decreases in body temperature help you to sleep better), the National Sleep Foundation recommends completing your workout more than three hours before bedtime. Keeping a regular workout schedule throughout the week may help to initiate better sleep.
Watch what you eat before bedtime.
Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, recommends that you shouldn't go to bed right after a big meal, but you shouldn't go to bed hungry either. Joy Bauer, todayshow.com contributor, suggests bedtime snacks with no more than 200 calories that combine tryptophan, an amino acid component found in many plant and animal proteins, with a carbohydrate. Her recommendations include foods like a low-fat granola bar, low-fat popcorn, or a scoop of vanilla or strawberry low-fat ice cream.
Watch what you drink, too.
It may seem obvious, but caffeine (found in coffee, tea, many sodas and chocolates) should be avoided before bedtime. For people who are sensitive to caffeine, that may mean eliminating these drinks up to eight hours before bedtime. Alcohol can also lead to restlessness at night. According to Feinsilver, alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but it may wake you up in the middle of the night when its effects wear off. Bauer suggests eliminating all liquids within 90 minutes of bedtime, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom, since it takes at least that long for your body to process liquid of any type.
Keep stresses off your mind.
Feinsilver recommends limiting planning, homework, work assignments, etc. to earlier in the evening so you can utilize your last waking hour to relax. If you do go to bed feeling stressed, the Better Sleep Council suggests making a list of those things, then giving yourself permission to relax and sleep. You may need the energy to take on those tasks the next morning. To wind down for the night, toss on your SleepPhones® headphones and choose a relaxing track from our free MP3s or YouTube channel.