7 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
Research shows that those who get more rest are better at learning and retaining information. That may explain why lack of sleep makes you more forgetful and less productive. So, how can you get from point A to point ZZZs? The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research suggests the following seven tips:
1. Stick to a Schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will help train your body and promote better sleep. If you still haven’t fallen asleep after 15 minutes, try doing something relaxing, like reading or stretching. Head back to bed when you’re tired.
2. Adjust Meal Times
Feeling stuffed or starved makes sleep more difficult. Arrange dinner and snack times accordingly–usually at least 2 or more hours before bed. In addition, stay away from nicotine or caffeine in the evening. The stimulating effects can take hours to wear off.
3. Follow a Routine
Design a ritual each night that tells your body it’s time to wind down. Think: warm shower or bath, reading a book, or writing in a journal. Avoid using electronics–research shows that screen time before bedtime interferes with sleep.
4. Create a Nighttime Retreat
You want a cool, dark, quiet environment. Try room darkening shades, ear plugs, a sleep mask, and devices that create white noise. Pillows also contribute to a good night’s sleep, according to James Maas, Ph.d., sleep expert and the brains behind a line of pillows called, “Sleep for Success!” He says, “The right support is medium firm and not too thick. It keeps your head and neck aligned, as if you were standing up.” Also, consider a mattress pad and/or foam mattress topper to achieve the softness or firmness you like best.
5. Say No to Long Naps
While many tout the restorative effect of a power nap, the experts at Mayo Clinic caution that lengthy daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. Limit naps to no more than 30 minutes in the afternoon.
6. Get Moving
Exercise is actually a fix for sleeplessness. Regular physical activity, such as walking or cycling, can promote better quality sleep and help you to fall asleep faster. That’s another reason to work out.
7. Tame the Stress Monster
Having trouble switching off your brain? Try to restore more peace into your waking hours. Get organized (hello, messy walk-in closet); take breaks at work; make time to unwind with family and friends.
Good night, and good luck.
What puts you to sleep? Warm milk? Counting Chickens? Share your sleep secret in the comments area.