Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

The things you do when you’re awake can have an impact on your sleep. Here are a few tips that can help you get better sleep so you can wake up feeling rested.

During Your Day

Good habits during your day can help promote better sleep.

 

1. Get regular exposure to sunlight. Try for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably in the morning.

2. Avoid nicotine and caffeine. Both are stimulants that can keep you up.

3. If you’re taking regular medication, check with your doctor about its effects.

4. If you nap, try to avoid taking one within six hours of your bedtime.

5. Try to get your workouts in at least two to three hours before bed.

6. Stay away from large meals and a lot of liquids within a few hours of bedtime.

Winding Down for Bed

Taking time to relax before crawling into bed can make getting to sleep easier.

 

1. Alcohol can decrease the quality of your sleep.

2. Dim the lights in the evening. It will help your body know it’s time foe sleep.

3. Relax before getting is bed. Make reading a book, listening to music, or journaling a ritual.

4. A hot bath can help you wind down.

Bedtime

Make sure your bedroom is helping you sleep well.

 

. Make sure your bedroom is cool and dark.

. Try to keep electronics and other distractions out of the bedroom.

. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you’re up for more than20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you feel like you’re ready to sleep.

Off-Cycle Sleep

Getting good sleep during the day can be a challenge. In addition to the tips above, here are some things that may help.

 

. Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule if you can.

. Get exposure to bright light while you’re awake at night and avoid sunlight before bed.

. If you can’t get your room dark whit shades or curtains, use an eye-mask.

. Ear plugs or white noise can help cancel out sounds that might wake you up.

Why Sleep is so Important

Sleep occurs when your body and brain drop into an unconscious, restorative state. While you’re sleeping, many of your body’s basic functions are altered or suspended while other specialized functions happen. You may not remember much of your sleep, but you’re likely to spend about a third of your life in this state.

 

Sleep can do remarkable things for you. It allows your body to rest and perform some essential maintenance on your memory, hormones, your immune system and other critical functions. It improves the brain’s ability to learn, helps the body fight infection, allows your heart to rest, and can even lower blood pressure. Not getting enough sleep can have adverse affects in all of these areas and others.

 

So how do you know when you’re getting the right amount sleep? When you wake up and feel rested, you’re likely gotten enough. The amount of sleep someone needs is highly individual. In general, adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep, kids should get 9-13 hours, and infants need between 12-15 hours.

 

Over the course of a day, you build up sleep pressure. You may find yourself nodding off or feeling tired. This is your body’s way of saying it needs to sleep.

About Sleep Stages

There are many misconceptions around sleep stages and the quality of sleep. Scientists and doctors are still exploring the purpose of the different stages and the impact they have on the body. Generally, a stage is characterized by the types of brain waves that happen while you sleep. It’s known that dreams happen during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage and that deep sleep has a restorative effect on the body. As you sleep, you’re likely to cycle through the different stages multiple times.

Understanding Your Sleep

Tracking your sleep can help you understand the sleep you’re getting and what may be impacting it. You can keep notes in a sleep journal, log your sleep in an app, or use a device that adds your sleep to Health.