Sleep is vital to your health and well being; the average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep daily in order to feel their best. Our work and social responsibilities, however, can case stress which disrupts our normal sleep schedule and deprive us of the rest we need for optimal health.
If you've been having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, the following tips can help you to establish a healthy sleep routine that will allow you to stay in better health.
1. Set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. When you go to sleep and wake at roughly the same time every day, you're working in accordance with your natural circadian rhythms. Avoid sleeping late, even when you don't have to go to work. When you oversleep, you're really not making up for losing sleep by going to bed later than normal.
2. Avoid using stimulants like caffeine or nicotine close to bedtime. These substances are notorious for keeping people awake; in fact, it's best to avoid using either in the eight hours preceding your usual bedtime. Even though it's actually a depressant rather than a stimulant, alcohol is also known to disrupt sleep and should also be avoided before going to sleep.
3. Do not have heavy meals or large intakes of liquids before going to bed. Dinner should be here a light meal and be eaten at least two hours before your bedtime. Foods which tend to cause heartburn or stomach upset should not be eaten before bed for obvious reasons. Drinking too much liquid before bed should be avoided to prevent the need to wake up throughout the night to answer nature's call.
4. Get regular exercise. Exercise is great for helping you to maintain body weight and generally stay in shape - and regular exercise also helps you maintain a regular sleep schedule and get deeper, more restful sleep. While exercise is a great thing, exercising right before bedtime is not; this can make it harder to get to sleep. Try to schedule your workouts for the early morning or early evening.
5. Make sure that your bedroom provides a proper environment for sleeping. The place where you sleep should be dark, quiet and comfortable.
6. Relax before bedtime to wind down from your day. Soft music, a warm bath or reading are all good ways to relax and prepare for sleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, try not to get worked up about it - this will only make it harder to sleep. If you can't get to sleep within 20 minutes, get up and try doing something relaxing before returning to bed.
7. Having trouble getting to sleep once in a while is normal; but having trouble falling or staying asleep regularly is not. If your inability to get to sleep is becoming a problem, see your physician to find out if you have a sleep disorder and if so, seek treatment.
If you're having difficulty establishing a healthy sleep routine, try these seven suggestions; they have worked for many. If you have a sleep disorder, then seek treatment as soon as possible - sleep is too important to your health to live with this kind of problem.