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Adults, ages 18-60, are recommended to get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Getting adequate sleep each night is crucial in maintaining one’s overall health and wellness.
Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. Try to be consistent with the bed time and awakening time. The body "gets used" to falling asleep at a certain time.
Avoid napping during the day. If you do nap, limit naps to no longer than 30-45 minute before 3pm.
Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime. This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime. These can affect your ability to stay asleep.
Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.Regular exercise, particularly in the morning or afternoon, can help deepen sleep; however, do not exercise less than 3 hours before you plan to go to bed. Your body is more active after exercise and it can make sleep more difficult.
Use comfortable bedding. This is often a source of sleep deprivation. Make sure you are comfortable. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs has been show to relieve back pressure and help to create/ maintain a comfortable sleep position.
Make sure the temperature is moderate and the room is well ventilated. Having good ventilation can help relax your body to promote calm breathing. Also, a comfortable temperature can prevent the body from becoming too hot or too cold during the night.
Reserve space for sleep. You shouldn’t use the bed for an office, for reading, or for watching TV.
Block out excess noise. Use white noise generators like a fan or soft radio music to block out ambient noise.
Establish a pre-bed routine. These could include reading, washing your face, and writing downs things you are grateful for.
Don’t take your worries to bed. Write down concerns or stressors and remove them from your mind for a period of time.
Try a light snack before bed. Some good choices would be a warm beverage and/or a light snack such as a banana or a piece of toast.
Practice relaxation methods. Try mediation, deep breathing techniques, or stretching routines prior to sleeping.
*Remember when first beginning a new sleep routine that it will take 2 to 3 weeks before your body will naturally respond to these new changes.
Reviewed and approved by Doctor Bradbury, September 2012Printer Friendly Version