15 Ways to Sleep Better Now!

15 ways to sleep better: Center for Family Medicine

Sleep is even more important to your personal health than you may think. 

According to Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine,“…a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.”

Does that information make you want to get your best night’s sleep ever tonight?

It’s definitely a goal you can reach. It’s just a matter of creating new habits that will help you get those quality Zs.

Here are 15 ways to make it happen.

  1. Unplug all electrical devices one hour before bed. If you continue to look at your devices, your body thinks the light is daylight and doesn’t produce melatonin.
  2. Take a warm bath or shower. Not only will doing so help you relax, but your body temperature will also lower when you get out of the tub, which brings on sleepiness.
  3. Do something spiritual such as meditating, praying, or writing in a gratitude journal to wind down and create a positive bedtime ritual.
  4. Turn the clock where you can’t see it to avoid those anxiety-creating moments of “Oh my goodness, it’s 4 a.m. and I’m still awake!”.
  5. Limit liquids after about 4 or 5 p.m. so you won’t wake up to make as many trips to the bathroom.
  6. Stick to a schedule (including weekends!) to create a sleep/wake routine that will keep your body clock on track.
  7. Consider melatonin supplements. Taking just .5 mg about 15 minutes before bed can help you sleep sounder. (Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any supplements.)
  8. Switch to your side for sleeping if you have sleep apnea or snore. Doing so can help open up your airways which can help lessen both snoring and apnea symptoms.
  9. Send Fido packing. Cozying up with pets is a nice way to get the warm and fuzzies, but it just isn’t conducive to restful sleep. With your best friend by your side, you may have a difficult time getting comfortable enough to sleep soundly, or they may keep your body temperature for you to fall into a deep sleep.
  10. Stay cool; cooler temperatures mean better sleep! Wear lightweight sleepwear, use thin bed coverings and keep the room temperature at 68 degrees or lower.
  11. Keep a record of your sleep/wake times for a week. Make a notation on the nights you can’t get to sleep. If it’s regularly taking you more than 20 minutes to get to sleep, or you wake up too early in the morning (for many it’s around 4 a.m.) and can’t get back to sleep, talk to your doctor about short-term medication options that will help you get back on track.
  12. Napping isn’t just for kids! Take a look at your day-to-day schedule and see if there is anywhere to squeeze in a nap. Just a little extra shut-eye could be all it takes to give you the energy you lack.
  13. Don’t focus on negative thoughts as you’re trying to sleep (including the fact that you can’t sleep!) because they make the problem of wakefulness even worse.
  14. Choose entertainment wisely in the hours leading up to bed. Playing violent video games, watching edge-of-your-seat movies or TV shows or reading the latest thriller can all signal your brain to stay awake when you should actually be winding down.
  15. If you partner is keeping you awake at night, try earplugs and a sleep mask. If that doesn’t work, you may have to give in and head to the guest room. Schedule differences and snoring can wreak havoc on your sleep habits, no matter how much you may love him or her.