Healthy sleeping habits
  • Nov 04, 2016
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30-35 percent people have difficulty falling asleep.  If you have insomnia, healthy sleep habits can make a big difference. These general guidelines are recommended for everyone, but they are especially important for people who can't fall asleep or stay asleep on a regular basis.

Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:

Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. This can be hard if you're tired and want to sleep in on the weekends, but for many people it helps to set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day.

Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep. 

Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
A power nap may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can't fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.

Exercise daily, but not close to bedtime.
Exercising at any time of day can help regulate your body and make you sleep better, but working out too close to bedtime can activate you and make it harder to settle into sleep. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.

Evaluate your bed room.
Make sure you have a clean, comfortable, quiet, and dark sleep space. Use a sound machine or a fan to block noise from inside or outside the house, and install darkening blinds for streetlights and morning light. If you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work material, computer and television out of the sleeping environment.
Sleep on a comfortable and supportive mattress. Most good quality mattresses have a life of about 9 or 10 years for most. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep.

Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.
Alcohol and cigarettes can disrupt sleep, and eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort that can make it hard to sleep.

Wind down.
Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop or mobile phone can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain.

Use light to help manage your circadian rhythms.
 Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.
You may benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary which may help evaluate common patterns or issues that you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits. If you still have trouble sleeping, do not hesitate to speak with your doctor


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