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You don't have to make drastic changes to see positive results in your sleep patterns. Take control by committing to a few bedroom basics: Keep chores like laundry folding out of the bedroom; leave entertainment in the living room by removing the bedroom TV; and attempt to retire for the evening 30 minutes before your typical bedtime. By moving your bedtime from 10 to 9:30, you're giving your mind and body a chance to unwind before it shuts down entirely. Keep the bedroom exclusively for what it's meant for -- sleep and sex.
Sleep medications may be helpful for some insomnia sufferers, but before you reach for the pills, consider some easy tips for better sleeping:
- Evaluate your sleep hygiene. Avoid watching TV, eating, or working in bed. Make the bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Keep the temperature a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house, and hide bedroom clocks so you're not constantly checking the time as you try to fall asleep. Try sticking to a sleep schedule and limiting naps or daytime sleeping.
- Get active. Thirty minutes of exercise each day (at least 5 to 6 hours before bedtime) will help you get more restful sleep at night.
- Avoid triggers. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine or large meals before bedtime can disrupt your ability to fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the night. Though many people use alcohol to get to sleep initially, alcohol actually compromises the quality of sleep you get overnight.
- Check your medications. Make sure they don't contain stimulants. Talk to your doctor about other options if you think your prescriptions are preventing you from getting good sleep.
Stressful life events also commonly trigger insomnia. If you think anxiety is the underlying problem behind your insomnia, relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, and deep breathing exercises may be helpful techniques to fight off tension at bedtime. Whatever the cause, insomnia can have devastating consequences on your health and quality of life. The key to relief is resolving the underlying cause.
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
To improve the quality of your sleep, you need to establish some good bedtime habits, says sleep medicine expert Dr. Carol Ash. Watch this video to learn how to get a better night's sleep.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.