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Tips for Getting Better Sleep

sleeping cat, tips for getting better sleepYou have the power to improve your sleep

Are you tired all the time? Do you start nodding off in class? Or fall asleep in front of the TV in the evening? If this describes you, you may benefit from improving your sleep hygiene. What is sleep hygiene? Sleep hygiene is the activities you do to help promote good, sound sleep. If you are having trouble getting the right amount of sleep, here are some tips for getting those zzzz’s on a regular basis.

During the day
Sleep hygiene is important not only at night, but also during the day. Follow this advice during the day to help you sleep better at night:

1. Wake up at the same time every day, including weekends
It’s tempting to sleep in on the weekends, but this can throw off your body’s internal clock. The more regular your sleep times, the better.

2. Learn to manage your stress
If you have too many stressful, busy days, this can take a toll on your sleeping. Work on stress management techniques to help you feel calmer and less stressed.

3. Get adequate exercise
Exercising in the morning or early afternoon helps to give you more energy during the day, so that you can sleep more soundly at night. Finding a way to fit exercise into your life will make you feel better overall.

4. Avoid napping
Napping is okay if you really need to make up sleep, but sometimes naps can interfere with your nighttime sleeping. If you need to nap, try to limit your naps to 15 or 20 minutes in the early afternoon or earlier.

5. Try to get natural light during the day
Getting exposure to sunlight during the day helps to clue your body that it’s time to be awake.  This helps with your natural rhythms.

During the evening
At night, it’s important to tell your body it’s time for sleep. Use these techniques to send the right message and get your body prepared for sleep.

1. Avoid TV and back-lit devices before bed
TVs and hand-held devices that are backlit can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin, a chemical in your body that helps you sleep. Try to avoid these devices 1 to 2 hours before going to bed.

2. Don’t exercise right before bed
Exercise is good for you, but exercising too close to bedtime can get your body over-energized. Try to have your workout finished at least 3 hours before bedtime.

3. Watch what you eat and drink before bed
Large meals, spicy foods, rich foods, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine…all of these things, if consumed too late in the day, might interfere with your sleep. Give your body time to process your foods and drinks. Try to finish eating and drinking at least 1 to 2 hours before bed.

4. Adopt a relaxing routine before bed
Evening is the time to wind down. Be sure to avoid stressful conversations right before bed and try to keep your mind on calming thoughts. Choose a relaxing activity like reading, meditating, or deep breathing.

5. Make sure your room is dark at night
Having a dark room signals to your body that it is time to sleep. Try room darkening blinds and covering up any sources of light. Keep the room at a moderate temperature and be sure your pillows and bed are comfortable.

With these daytime and evening suggestions, you should be well on your way to a deeper night’s sleep. If you have serious sleep problems, be sure to consult with your doctor. Good quality sleep makes a difference in your life. It improves your energy level, your mood, and your focus. Take efforts now to improve your life!

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The Harris School of Business provides advice through its weekly blog. With campuses in Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, we offer career training for medical assistants, massage therapists, dental assistants, and more. To learn more about our career-focused programs, contact us online.