I am convinced: Sleep is by far the best medicine. Face it, your day really starts the night before.
Here are nine tips to make sure you make the best of your shuteye.
1. Put down that smart phone. Smart phones and other electronics, like tablets, computers, and televisions emit light that signals our brains that it’s morning and suppresses our natural melatonin, a hormone that signals sleep and wake times. We’re also more likely to stay up past our bedtime when we are interacting with electronics.
2. Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each morning helps your body fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. Disrupting your regular sleep schedule can lead to insomnia.
3. Make exercise a habit. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. For best results, exercise at least four hours before bedtime. Your body temperature will increase and then begin to drop right around bedtime, which helps promote sleep.
4. Establish sleep rituals. Read a book you can put down again, or take a warm bath or shower.
5. Cut out caffeine, especially at night. If you enjoy caffeinated beverages, it’s best to quit drinking them by midafternoon, especially if you have trouble sleeping. Some people may find that cutting caffeine out entirely is necessary for a good night’s sleep.
6. Avoid large meals before bedtime. Large meals can lead to indigestion and acid reflux.
7. Beware of alcohol. Alcohol may make you sleepy, but it’s likely to disrupt your sleep later in the night.
8. Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Minimize light and noise and don’t bring work, food, or other distractions into the bedroom.
9. Get comfortable. Make sure your mattress provides proper support and your pillow suits your sleeping style. Keep your bedroom on the cool side, and eliminate noise with a white noise machine or by using earplugs.
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