(From bettersleep.org)There are a few things you can do to try and get a great night’s rest. You’ll be surprised by how your quality of life improves when you learn how to sleep better. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on the weekends. This will help keep your biological clock in sync.
Develop a sleep ritual by doing the same things each night just before bed. Parents often establish a routine for their kids, but it can help adults, too. A routine cues the body to settle down for the night. Another hint: Unwind early in the evening so that worries and distractions don't keep you from getting a good night's sleep.
Finally, create a restful sleep environment – sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation –and keep all electronics out of the bedroom! The bedroom is for sleep and sex only, so that means no televisions, laptops or smartphones. If you're sleeping as much as you need, but still find that you're sleepy during the day, you should consult your doctor to see if you might have a medical condition interfering with your sleep.
It's important to make an overall commitment to healthy, restorative sleep. Here are some tips to sleep better from the Better Sleep Council for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle and ensuring the best night's rest:
- Make sleep a priority by keeping a consistent sleep (bedtime) and wake schedule, including weekends.
- Create a bedtime routine that is relaxing. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music or soaking in a hot bath.
- Transform your bedroom into a haven of comfort. Create a room that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool for the best possible sleep.
- Evaluate your mattress and pillow to ensure proper comfort and support. If your mattress is seven years old or older, it may be time for a new one. In general, pillows should be replaced every year.
- Keep work materials, computers and televisions out of the bedroom; it should be used for sleep and sex only.
- Exercise regularly, but complete workouts at least two hours before bedtime.
- If you sleep with a partner, your matress should allow each of you enough space to move easily. Couples who've been sleeping on a "double" (full size) may think they have enough room, until they learn that each person has only as much sleeping space as a baby's crib!
- Avoid nicotine (e.g., cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol (e.g., coffe, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.
- Finish eating at least two to three hours before bedtime.