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Healthy Sleep Habits
Looking to improve your sleep? These tips explore how to get a better night's sleep, feel rested and overall improve your sleep hygiene.
Avoid caffeine late in the day! When consumed late in the day, caffeine can stimulate your nervous system and may prevent your body from being able to relax and get a restful night's sleep.
Keep a regular sleep routine for the entire week! After a while, you may find that you don't even need an alarm clock.
Drinking alcohol before bedtime can negatively affect your sleep. Alcohol is known to cause increased sleep apnea, irregular sleep patterns and increased snoring.
Temperature is important! Be sure your room isn't too hot, as a warmer temperature can affect your sleep even more than noise.
Insomnia means difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. People with insomnia can experience one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in mood and poor performance at work or at school.
Avoid drinking large amounts of liquids before bed. This can cause sleep interruptions, as it can lead to extra bathroom breaks in the night.
On average, teenagers should get between 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. For an adult, you should be getting an average of 6 to 9 hours a night. It's different for everyone, so if you still aren't feeling rested, seek advice from your family doctor.
If lying awake in bed gives you anxiety or you have been there for more than 30 minutes, get up and try a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy again.
Relax before bed! Try reading a book, listening to relaxing music, or meditating to clear your mind and have a more restful sleep.
For a more natural sleep aid, some people take melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a key hormone your body produces that tells your brain to sleep. Start with a low dose and when in doubt, consult your doctor.
Can't drown out all the noise in your bedroom? Try a white noise machine to help give your room a constant sound and prevent drastic changes in volume that could disrupt your sleep. Can't afford a white noise machine? Try a free app!
Eating a large meal before bed can cause digestion issues and a poor night's sleep. If you need to eat before bed, try a light snack!
Avoid doing work or watching TV in bed. Use your bed only for sleeping to help strengthen the connection between your bed and sleep.
Not sure why you can't sleep? Try a sleep journal to not only help you track your sleep, but to note what you did leading up to bed time. Look for trends and change up your nightly routine accordingly!
Reduce exposure to blue light emitted by electronic devices closer to bed time. This light can throw off your natural sleep rhythm and cause you to have a restless sleep.
Exercise during the day can help with a better night's sleep, but exercising before bed can have the opposite effect.
Getting a good night's sleep starts in the day. Make sure to expose yourself to bright light during the day to help your body stay in its natural cycle. Can't get enough light naturally? Try light therapy!
Hypersomnia is a condition in which you feel excessive sleepiness during the day. It may occur even after long stretches of sleep. Another name for hypersomnia is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
Can't stop thinking about something while you try to go to sleep? Write it down and postpone your worry until the next day so that you can rest your mind.
Some medications can affect your sleep patterns. Talk to your doctor and see if yours may be causing you to have a restless night.
During the day, power naps that are 30 minutes or less can help with brain function, but napping for too long during the day may confuse your internal clock and affect your sleep.
Leave worry and stress out of the bedroom. Try to leave work or personal matters out of the bedroom, both physically and mentally, to make your room a place of rest.
Turn your alarm clock light off or turn the clock's face out of view so you don't worry about the time while trying to fall asleep.
Instead of counting sheep to fall asleep, try counting and timing your breaths. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds. Do this repeatedly and you will begin to get drowsy.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen.
Remove as much light as you can from your room. Studies show that even the smallest crack of light from a window, the glow of a clock, or lights from other devices can reduce your overall sleep quality.
You might think cannabis is a good sleep aid, but some strains actually reduce REM sleep which can negatively affect your memory, mood, concentration, and make you feel unrested. If you think your cannabis use is affecting your sleep, talk with your doctor.
If your mind is racing and keeping you up at night, meditation might be just the sleep aid that you need! Meditation can take some practice to master, so be patient. Try starting with just a few minutes before bed, and work your way up.
Make sure your bed, mattress and pillow are right for you! Did you know there are pillows that can support you better if you typically sleep on your side, back or stomach? Having the right one for you can help you get a better sleep!
If nothing seems to be helping you sleep better, see your family physician and ensure you rule out sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
These tips were originally posted on our Twitter account under the hashtag #mymTips with a different topic each month. Follow us on Twitter to see a new tip each day, or visit the Wellness Section to see more tips.