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How can I improve my sleep?

Try these tips to improve your sleep:

  • Exercise regularly because it helps tire and relax your body.
  • Do not drink caffeine after 4 p.m. or so. Other stimulants, like cigarettes, should be avoided as well.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol will disrupt the brain's normal patterns of sleep.
  • Try to stay in a regular pattern with a regular bedtime and regular wake up time, even on weekends.

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.

Improving your sleep is not just important for your day-to-day quality of life; it is also important for maintaining your cardiovascular health. While severe sleep problems require guidance of a physician, there are things in general that one can do to improve more minor sleep problems. The tips below may help you to get higher quality sleep.

  • Get to bed and wake up at consistent times, even on the weekend. You may find this is difficult to do, but keeping to a more consistent schedule will help your body know when to expect periods of sleep and wakefulness.
  • Treat your bedroom as a sanctuary only used for sleep and sexual activity (if applicable). That means no TV in the bedroom, or even reading in bed, which can be too stimulating to promote sleep for some people.
  • Make sure the temperature of the bedroom is comfortable enough to promote sleep. Many people find a slightly cooler environment is ideal, but find the temperature that works for you.
  • Darken the room with blackout curtains to help promote longer sleep in the brightness of the early morning.
  • Turn off electronics (phone, computer, television) and quit other stimulating activities several hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise daily. It is best to exercise earlier in the day so your body is not over-stimulated too close to bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Avoid smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant and will affect your sleep.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, get up out of bed and try a relaxing activity.
  • Try strategies for coping with stress. The following activities may help: mediation, stretches or yoga, reading in a room other than the bedroom, taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, writing in a journal, or writing down the things that are on your mind so you can put them aside until the morning.

Continue Learning about Sleep Basics

What Can I Do to Avoid Waking Up at Night After Falling Asleep?
What Can I Do to Avoid Waking Up at Night After Falling Asleep?
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How Can a Food Curfew Help Me Get a Good Night's Sleep?
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What's a Good Breathing Exercise to Help Me Sleep?
What's a Good Breathing Exercise to Help Me 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.