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Six steps to a better sleep

25 May 2019

Here are some simple tips to help you get a better nights sleep.  While you may not be able to control the factors that can interfere with your sleep, you can try to adopt habits that help encourage sleep. 




1. Stick to a sleep schedule

Try to set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Despite what people think, most people don't need more than eight hours in bed.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends by no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle.

If you don't fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you're tired. Repeat as needed.

2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Never go to bed hungry or having over eaten. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort may keep you up.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol should be rationed. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can have an effect on quality sleep. Despite the fact that alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

3. Create a restful environment

Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. This means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light can make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, can help promote better sleep.

4. Limit daytime naps

Long daytime naps can interfere with your night sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.  If you work nights, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.

5. Include physical activity in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. But avoid being active too close to bedtime.  Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.

6. Manage worries

Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.  Stress management may help. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.

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