For those of us who are not suffering from insomnia or another sleep disorder, achieving a full night of blissful rest can still be difficult. According to the National Institute of Health, there are 10 key tips to securing a far better night of sleep by using what we call good "sleep hygiene" practices.
1. Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when you are traveling.
2. Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening if you can. Naps may keep you awake at night.
3. Develop a bedtime routine. Take time to relax before bedtime each night. Some people read a book, listen to soothing music, or soak in a warm bath.
4. Try not to watch television or use your computer, cell phone, or tablet in the bedroom. The light from these devices may make it difficult for you to fall asleep, and alarming or unsettling shows or movies, like horror movies, may keep you awake.
5. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold, and as quiet as possible.
6. Use low lighting in the evenings and as you prepare for bed.
7. Exercise at regular times each day but not within 3 hours of your bedtime.
8. Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime—they can keep you awake.
9. Stay away from caffeine late in the day. Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, and soda) can keep you awake.
10. Remember—alcohol won’t help you sleep. Even small amounts make it harder to stay asleep.
All 10 suggestions are superb advice, but if you can only adhere to one of these every day, make it: going to bed and waking up at the same time of day no matter what. This is perhaps the single most effective way of helping improve sleep, even though it involves the use of an alarm clock.
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To read more tips on how to achieve better sleep, check out NIH Medline Plus’s feature here (Page 18)
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