7 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

January 30, 2013 8

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.

Comments (8)

  1. A white noise machine has helped my husband and I a lot. It seems to have quieted his snoring and helped me to not be bothered by it. We bought the Sleep Easy Sound Conditioner. Has several settings. About $15.00.

    - Betty
  2. What are your suggestions for people who work nights and have to go to sleep once the sun is up? This is a whole lot different then sleeping at night

    - Gregg Shive
  3. When I just CAN’T sleep, I get up and make a big drink of chocolate milk. I don’t have to warm it in the microwave, though sometimes I do. It seems like the sugar and the small amount of caffeine would keep me awake, but it seems to work practically every time. I think the calcium in the milk is a big factor. If you don’t sleep well, try drinking more milk or getting some other form of calcium.

    - jrparfitt
  4. We turned the lights down low and try to go to bed at the same time every night. If we need extra help we have a cup of sleep time tea and a nice warm bath.

    - April W.
  5. When my mind won’t shut down, I pray and give thanks for all the blessings I have. That puts everything in perspective for me and I am asleep!

    - Sherry O
  6. I found that by either turning the bedside clock to face away from me while sleeping or by putting something (in my case, an old dark sock) over the lighted dial really helped. Our 2 bedside clocks have lighted red digital numbers which somehow was disturbing our sleep. Even the clocks that emitted a blue color was disturbing. Happy Sleeping!

    - auntmeme
  7. Hi, I have what you call East Coast kidneys. I moved across country and I alway get up at 4am to go to the bathroom and then find myself awake and so I surrender to it and get up. The clock change is such a difference from the West Coast time. When I visit back on the East Coast I sleep until 7am. I haven’t been able to cure it in 34 years. ?????? I tried taking pills and it doesn’t matter I still wake up. Any suggestions?

    - Ruthann
  8. The following deep breathing exercise relaxes muscles and puts me to sleep. Slowly breathe in to the count of 8 seconds or until your lungs are completely full as in a deep sigh of relief. Hold for 3 seconds and breathe out through your mouth. Repeat 19 more times. You will probably fall asleep before you ever get close to 20 breaths! It is important to also turn off or cover any little electronic lights that shine in your bedroom all night with this exercise.

    - Andrea Morgan

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