After reading Why We Sleep Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, Ph.D., I found his summary of “Twelve Tips of Healthy Sleep” to be beneficial. If you never read the book, following is the most important information to improve your sleep and keep you healthy.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule, Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day [even on the weekends].
2. Exercise, but not too late in the day. Exercise each day, but not after two to three hours before you sleep.
3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, most sodas and tees, and chocolate all contain the stimulant caffeine. Caffeine can take up to eight hours to wear off.
4. Avoid alcohol before you sleep. Having a nightcap or one alcoholic beverage may help you relax, but heavy drinking robs you of deep sleep and keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep.
5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. Heavy foods can cause indigestion and drinking too many beverages can cause interruptions to urinate during the night.
6. If possible, avoid medicines that delay of disrupt your sleep.
7. Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can help disrupted sleep, but too late in the day can make it harder to fall asleep.
8. Relax before bed and don’t over schedule your day [easier said than done!].
9. Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after the bath can help you feel sleepy.
10. Dark , cool, gadget free bedroom. Get rid of that thing in the thing in the bedroom that can distract you.
11. Have the right exposure to sunlight. Scientists suggest sunlight in the morning or first half of the day to regulate sleep patterns. Too much exposure late in the day can keep you up.
12. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t get to sleep in 20 minutes, get up to do some light activity, reading, light housework, but not watching TV or searching on the internet.