Tips for Better Sleep
For a lot us, the alarm clock is our worst enemy, and we require a steady stream of caffeine to keep us going throughout the day. Of course there are other folks who wake up cheery and bright-eyed, singing through the morning with an energy level that would give Doris Day a run for her money.
Whether you’re drowsy during the day or ready to climb Mt. Everest, how you feel mentally and physically are greatly influenced by the quality of sleep you get during the night.
In addition to drowsiness, sleep deprivation can make you vulnerable to memory issues, depression and a weakened immune system. It can also impair your judgment and reaction time, making it just as dangerous as drunk driving.
If you’ve experienced any of these effects, try to imagine a world in which you’re more alert, energetic, and overall happier.
Well, with some simple tricks to help you sleep better at night, you can be on your way to the best sleep ever, and an even better you.
- Caffeine Control: If you find yourself lagging during the afternoon, avoid tapping into that third or fourth cup of coffee to get you to 5 o’clock. After 2 p.m. the effects of caffeine can still impact your ability to fall asleep at night.
- Exercise in the morning: This may be tough if you’re already waking up before the rooster crows, but it doesn’t change the fact that high-energy workouts within six hours of going to bed can make it more difficult for some to fall asleep. Relaxing yoga, on the other hand, is a great way to help you wind down before bed, since it allows you to reduce tension in your muscles.
- Wine & Dine Early: Large, heavy meals a couple of hours before bed will disturb your sleep and increase your chances of snoring. Try having a light dinner earlier in the evening. Foods that are high in protein and that contain healthy carbs, like chicken or whole-wheat pasta, can actually help your body get ready for sleep.
If a night cap is your secret weapon to falling asleep quickly, think again. Since alcohol disrupts the deeper sleep cycle, alcohol can actually prevent you from having quality sleep and will increase your chances of waking up during the night. Instead, drink wine with dinner to give your body time to recover from its effects.
Some foods may give your body an unwanted boost of energy. To satisfy cravings and hunger pains, try having a banana, a small bowl of cottage cheese, milk and graham crackers, or yogurt with cereal.
- Dim the Lights: Your body internally prepares for sleep based upon its exposure to both the sun and artificial light, known as circadian rhythm. This means that as the environment around you darkens, your body starts to pick up on cues to wind down. An hour before sleep, dim the lights in your room to signal to your body that it’s almost time for bed. Also, try clearing your mind of work and stress by reading, listening to music, or engaging in breathing exercises to help relax your body.
- Keep it Cool: Make sure your bedroom is set to a cool temperature (65 degrees or lower); lower temps are more conducive to sleeping better.
- Turn off the Tech: Cell phones, tablets, TVs―all contain additional bright lights that can make it more difficult to fall asleep, and even disrupt sleep if it makes noise during the night. Try to turn off the TV an hour before bed, avoid late-night texting, and keep your phones on silent.
- Keep a Set Sleep Schedule: Since your body works on the internal clock mentioned above, setting a consistent bedtime and wake up time improves your chances of falling asleep and embracing the morning with ease.
For more information, visit Crozer-Keystone’s website at http://sleep.crozerkeystone.org. Crozer-Keystone offers a multidisciplinary approach to the identification and treatment of all types of adult and pediatric sleep disorders. To make an appointment, visit our website or call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703).