Sleep Tips: 12 Steps For Optimal Sleep
Sleep Tips: 12 Steps For Optimal Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is essential for both physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, many people struggle with sleep, whether it's falling asleep in the first place, staying asleep, or waking up feeling rested. If you're having trouble getting the sleep you need, here are some tips to try:
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule. It's important to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm.
- Make your bedroom a comfortable and relaxing environment. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. You should also avoid screens (including phones, tablets, and TVs) for at least an hour before bed, as the blue light emitted by these devices can disrupt your body's production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Try relaxation techniques before bed. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation can all help to calm your mind and body and prepare you for sleep.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals close to bedtime. These can all interfere with sleep by stimulating the body or disrupting digestion.
- Get regular exercise, but not too close to bedtime. Regular physical activity can help to improve sleep, but it's best to avoid vigorous exercise in the hours leading up to bedtime as it can rev up your body and make it harder to wind down.
- Get evaluated for sleep apnea. Risk factors for sleep apnea include excess weight and drinking. Check where your body fat is distributed and how much you have with a DEXA Scan. It is recommended you see a sleep doctor if you snore at night, as that is the number 1 sign.
- Try not to nap during the day. Napping can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night, so it's generally best to avoid it. If you must nap, keep it short (20-30 minutes) and early in the day.
- Use the bedroom for sleep and intimacy only. Avoid using the bedroom for work, stress, or other activities that might keep your mind active. This helps to associate the bedroom with sleep, which can make it easier to fall asleep.
- Consider using a white noise machine or earplugs. If you're sensitive to noise or have a partner who snores, white noise or earplugs can help to create a more peaceful sleeping environment.
- Don't spend too much time in bed awake. If you're having trouble falling asleep, it's best to get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Spending too much time in bed awake can create a negative association with the bed, making it harder to fall asleep in the future.
- If you're still having trouble sleeping, consider seeking professional help. If you've tried these tips and are still having trouble sleeping, it might be a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider or a sleep specialist. They can help to identify any underlying issues and suggest additional treatment options.
- Consider natural sleep aids. If you're still having trouble sleeping, you may want to consider natural sleep aids such as melatonin or valerian root. However, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider before trying any new supplement or medication.
Why CBT-I May Be the Best Cure for Insomnia
CBT-I is an evidence-based and clinically-proven approach for treating sleep disorders. It is considered the “gold standard” of insomnia treatment and is recommended by expert groups including the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.18
CBT-I provides a comprehensive plan that strengthens your sleep drive and teaches you to calm your mind. It is highly effective, with research showing it helps up to four out of five people achieve healthy and restorative sleep.19 Furthermore, unlike sleeping pills and antidepressants that are only helpful for as long as you take them, the beneficial effects of CBT-I are ongoing.
Software Engineer & Sleep Enthusiast