You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. With enough sleep each night, you may find that you're happier and more productive during the day.
Sleep often is the first thing that busy people squeeze out of their schedules. Making time to sleep will help you protect your health and well-being now and in the future.
The sleep tips below are solutions to help avoid the damaging effects of sleep deprivation and general grogginess after a poor night’s sleep. In short, these tips on how to sleep better can make Monday mornings – and every other morning – a lot easier to handle.
Make sleep a priority. Keep a consistent sleep and wake schedule – even on the weekends. If necessary, try adding sleep to your to-do list. And don’t be late. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For children, have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don't use the child's bedroom for timeouts or punishment.
Maintain a relaxing sleep routine. Create a bedtime routine that relaxes you. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music or having a cozy bath.
Create a sleep sanctuary. Your bedroom should be a haven of comfort. Create a room that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool for the best sleep possible. Consider a bedroom makeover.
Clean your room. Get rid of the cobwebs, dust the shelves, and vacuum the floor. Empty the wastepaper basket. Remove dirty plates, cups, and water-bottles. A clean room sets the emotional stage for your room being a safe, healthy place, not a neglected dumping-ground to wallow in. Also, regular cleaning can alleviate allergies which can disrupt sleep. It also keeps pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches from invading your space.
Keep your bed clean. Wash the sheets and pillowcases every week, they smell great and you will feel more comfortable sleeping.
Don't clutter your room with things that can distract you from going to sleep. Tidy up. Throw out any rubbish and let fresh air in.
Evaluate your sleep system. Your mattress and pillow should provide full comfort and support. Your bed and your body will naturally change over time, so if your mattress is seven years old (or older), it may be time for a new one. Pillows should generally be replaced every year.
Keep work materials out. The bedroom should be used for sleep and sex only. Keep stressors, such as work, outside the bedroom.
Exercise early. Complete your workouts at least two hours before bedtime to ensure quality sleep. Even a brisk walk can increase blood flow and improve your sleep.
Assess your space. Did you know that for couples who sleep on a “double”, each person only has as much sleeping space as a baby’s crib? Whether you sleep with a partner or alone, your mattress should allow enough space for you to be able to move freely and easily.
Replace caffeine with water after lunch. Caffeine can remain in your system longer than you might realize. Stay hydrated with water instead of having coffee, tea or soda in the afternoon.
Drink alcohol earlier in the day. If you need to indulge, a glass of wine soon after work can calm your nerves and help worries melt away, while still giving your body ample time to digest the alcohol before bed.
Take 20- to 30-minute naps. Short naps can be restorative without disrupting your sleep. Experts say even a 10-minute nap can improve alertness for 2.5 hours when you’re sleep deprived and for up to 4 hours when you are well rested.
Eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime. A full stomach may disrupt your sleep, and, the heavier the meal, the longer it takes for your stomach to settle down.
Avoid greasy foods, as not only are they not good for you but tend to inhibit sleep.
Avoid spicy foods. Some people thrive on heavily spiced foods, but if you find out curry gives you a stomach-ache at night, seriously reconsider your dinner plans.
Avoid going to bed on an empty stomach. A completely empty stomach may interfere with your sleeping patterns just as much as going to bed with a full stomach.
If you find that your stomach is grumbling for food and is keeping you awake, eat a light snack about an hour before bedtime. Avoid foods high in carbohydrates or sugar.
You can indulge in High protein foods like turkey, yogurt, soy beans, tuna, and peanuts contain tryptophan, which can help the body produce serotonin in order to relax. They also have natural, complex fats that can satiate your hunger.
Avoid drinking water or other fluids within one hour of your appointed bedtime. Ensure, though, that you drink at least two litres of water during the day. A well-hydrated body will not wake you from thirst, but drinking a big glass of water just before bed might wake you to go to the bathroom at an inconvenient hour.
Buy an alarm clock.And keep your phone in the other room. Smartphones in particular can represent a source of stress during the day, and proximity to the bed can disrupt sleep – even if it doesn’t make noise or is set to vibrate.
Sleep naked. According to sleep specialists at the Cleveland Sleep Clinic, sleeping in the nude helps you regulate your temperature. Get a comfortable temperature using blankets or duvet (of suitable warmth), sheets, and pillows. It is usually best to be slightly on the cool side. Preferably sleep with your arms and head out from under the bedclothes, unless the room is very cold.
Keep an extra blanket right by the bed, just in case you get cold at night. Don't neglect your feet—cold feet can keep you awake!
If you prefer to wear pajamas because they're more comfortable, loose cotton pajamas are the best as they as a rule breathe more easily than other fabrics.
Sleep in varying positions. Changing your sleeping position can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. When you go to sleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, make a conscious effort to follow these guidelines until it becomes habitual.
Keep your body in a "mid-line" position, where both your head and neck are kept roughly straight. This should help you sleep.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach. It's difficult to maintain the proper position, and it is more likely to cause aches and pains. If you wish to sleep on your stomach, put your pillow under your hips instead of under your head.
Reduce your light exposure an hour or two before going to bed. Bright light before bedtime can disrupt your body's internal clock. It's one of the primary clues to the body that it's either sleep time, or waking time.
If your home is brightly lit late at night, turn off lights you do not need.
Stop watching TV and using your tablet or phone at least two hours before bedtime too.
Eliminate all sources of light in your bedroom. This includes windows, LED clocks, computer lights, cable boxes, and other devices with lights (unless they're very dim). You can cover them with heavy paper, cloth covers, masking tape, or just unplug them. Not only will you get a good night's sleep, you'll save electricity.
If light still disturbs you or wakes you, wear an eye mask. Sometimes lavender eye "pillows" can be more relaxing.
Go to sleep when you’re truly tired. Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep.
Tell your doctor if you are concerned that you might have a sleep disorder. Some of the most common sleep disorders are insomnia, narcolepsy and parasomnias. If you are indeed suffering from and are diagnosed with any of these conditions, your doctor will recommend treatment accordingly.
How To Discuss Sleep With Your Doctor
Doctors might not detect sleep problems during routine office visits because patients are awake. Thus, you should let your doctor know if you think you might have a sleep problem.
For example, talk with your doctor if you often feel sleepy during the day, don't wake up feeling refreshed and alert, or are having trouble adapting to shift work.
To get a better sense of your sleep problem, your doctor will ask you about your sleep habits. Before you see the doctor, think about how to describe your problems, including:
How often you have trouble sleeping and how long you've had the problem
When you go to bed and get up on workdays and days off
How long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you wake up at night, and how long it takes you to fall back asleep
Whether you snore loudly and often or wake up gasping or feeling out of breath
How refreshed you feel when you wake up, and how tired you feel during the day
How often you doze off or have trouble staying awake during routine tasks, especially driving
Your doctor also may ask questions about your personal routine and habits. For example, he or she may ask about your work and exercise routines. Your doctor also may ask whether you use caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or any medicines (including over-the-counter medicines).
To help your doctor, consider keeping a sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down when you go to sleep, wake up, and take naps. (For example, you might note: Went to bed at 10 a.m.; woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn't fall back asleep; napped after work for 2 hours.)
Also write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning, as well as how sleepy you feel at various times during the day. Share the information in your sleep diary with your doctor.
Doctors can diagnose some sleep disorders by asking questions about sleep schedules and habits and by getting information from sleep partners or parents. To diagnose other sleep disorders, doctors also use the results from sleep studies and other medical tests.
Sleep studies allow your doctor to measure how much and how well you sleep. They also help show whether you have sleep problems and how severe they are.
Your doctor will do a physical exam to rule out other medical problems that might interfere with sleep. You may need blood tests to check for thyroid problems or other conditions that can cause sleep problems.