Optimizing your ZZZ’s: 14 tips to improve your sleep
1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time.
2. Avoid napping.
3. Avoid lying in bed if you cannot fall asleep. If your mind is racing, get up and get out of bed (read a book or sit in a chair in the dark).
Avoid being tempted by the TV/computer/phone.
4. Avoid screen time before bed (computer, phone, TV).
5. Avoid stimulants after 2:00 pm (caffeine, alcohol, sugar etc.).
6. Exercise regularly, but try to do so earlier in the day. Exercise before bed can be very stimulating.
7. Avoid doing work/homework before bed. Allow yourself an hour to “buffer” between work and rest.
8. Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Leave your computer/TV for another room. Don’t study or do work in bed. You want to associate your bedroom as a place of relaxation, not somewhere you file your taxes!
9. Fresh air! Get outside. It’s free.
10. If you frequently wake up to use the bathroom, avoid beverages 60 minutes before bed time.
11. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and clean. Consider blackout curtains, ear plugs, and an eye mask if you’re sensitive to your surroundings. A clean, uncluttered bedroom has a calming effect on the mind.
12. Invest in a comfortable mattress and bedding.
13. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature. A cooler room is conducive to better sleep.
14. Bedtime routine ideas: bath/shower before bed (add lavender oil); journaling before bed (this can help to get thoughts/ideas out before sleep if you tend to worry or think); mediation/down time; infuser with relaxing essential oils.
If a restful night’s sleep is something you’ve only ever dreamed of (or not dreamed of), talk to your doctor for some additional strategies individualized to you!
Dr. Michelle Hislop ND