Health Topics

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep may seem impossible when you’re tossing and turning. However, you have to remember that your body wants to fall asleep. You only need to give it the proper means to do so. With a little preparation, you can give your body all it needs to get ready for a satisfying sleep. Follow these tips during the day and right before bed so you will surely sleep the night away.

7 Daytime Sleep Tips

Follow these 7 tips throughout your daily activities so you can achieve a good night’s sleep:

  1. Get aerobic exercise during the day to reduce the level of stress hormones, but avoid anything too strenuous (aside from sex) within three hours of bedtime. Regular exercise might promote deeper sleep.
  2. Learn a relaxation technique, such as progressive muscle relaxation, and practice it in bed.
  3. Nicotine is a stimulant and should be avoided particularly near bedtime and upon night awakenings. Having a cigarette before bed might feel relaxing, but nicotine is a stimulant and might interfere with sleep.
  4. Caffeine should be discontinued at least four to six hours before bedtime. If you consume large amounts of caffeine and you cut yourself off too quickly, you might get headaches that could keep you awake. Caffeine is also a stimulant and is present in such products as coffee, cola, tea, chocolate and various over-the-counter medicines.
  5. Alcohol is a depressant and might help you fall asleep, but the subsequent metabolism that clears it from your body when you are sleeping causes withdrawal. This withdrawal causes awakenings and is often associated with nightmares and sweats.
  6. Avoid eating within two hours of bedtime. If you are hungry, a glass of milk or a light snack is a good choice. Milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which research has shown helps people go to sleep. Avoid consuming protein at bedtime.
  7. Stop working at any task an hour before bedtime to calm mental activity.

6 Pre-Bedtime Rituals

Right before bedtime, focus on the 6 steps below to maximize your shuteye for the night:

  1. Minimize noise with earplugs and minimize light with window blinds, heavy curtains or an eye mask. Do not turn on bright lights if you need to get up at night. Use a small nightlight instead.
  2. Go to bed at a regular time and avoid napping late in the afternoon. If you need to nap, take a nap for 10 to 15 minutes about eight hours after you awake.
  3. At bedtime, keep your mind off worries or things that upset you. Avoid discussing emotional issues in bed.
  4. Consider having pets stay outside of your sleeping area. Having a pet in bed with you might cause you to wake if you have allergies or if the pet moves around on the bed.
  5. Make sure your bedroom is well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature (below 75 degrees and above 64 degrees).
  6. Keep your bedroom for sleeping. If you can't sleep or if you wake up, go into another room and read a book or watch television until you feel sleepy.

For more information on sleeping problems, download our free Sleep Treatment Guide.