H ow you feel during your waking hours hinges greatly on how well you sleep. In the same way, the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Consider simple tips for better sleep, from setting a sleep schedule to including physical activity in your daily routine.

By learning to avoid common enemies of sleep and trying out a variety of healthy sleep-promoting techniques, you can discover your personal prescription to a good night’s rest.

The key is to experiment. What works for some might not work as well for others. If you try out these tips and mix- and – match, you are sure to find a “recipe” that works for you.

How Much Sleep do you Need?

The first step to improving the quality of your rest is finding out how much sleep you need. At different times on our lives we need more or less sleep. But every person should know how many hours they need. Most healthy adults need at least eight hours of sleep each night to function at their best.

Good Sleep Practices

Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. Increase light exposure during the day.
  • Get used to a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety.
  • Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Exercise daily. Any kind of activity is good.
  • Evaluate your room. Is your room comfortable, free from any noise and as dark as you can make it?
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.
  • Manage Stress. When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace, consider healthy ways to manage stress.
  • Give yourself time to wind down and relax. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses
  • If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
  • Remove work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.
  • If you work nights, you’ll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight — which adjusts your internal clock — doesn’t interrupt your daytime sleep.

Know when to Contact your Doctor

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

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