We live in a busy world with untold numbers of stressors that fly at us from every angle. Work, technology, relationships, finances, responsibilities—it can all pile up on you and create major anxiety and stress, causing you to have low-quality sleep. And the last thing that you need on top of all of this is to feel tired, groggy, and cranky all day while you’re trying to manage your life.
Getting good sleep at night can be a remedy for many problems ranging from memory and cognition issues to behavioral issues like how you relate to your co-workers and important people in your life. To help you make the most of your night and get the best sleep possible, here are some tips for practicing good ‘sleep hygiene’:
- Get a sleep study. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 9 percent of women and 24 percent of men suffer from a condition called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is a sometimes life-threatening condition that causes breathing to stop while sleeping, can mask itself as other conditions like depression, among others. What’s more shocking is that more than 80 percent of people go undiagnosed. This condition can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease a host of other issues. The answer? Get a sleep study. If people have complained about your snoring or you feel exhausted during the day, it may be time for you to consult a sleep specialist and get a sleep study.
- Keep a ‘baby’ bedtime. When you were a baby, it’s likely that your parents put you to bed at the same time every night— and it was probably pretty early. Babies need good sleep to help their brains and bodies develop, but adults need this too. If you find yourself tired during the day, power down your life and crawl into bed by nine at night to get some good quality, ‘baby’ sleep.
- Manage your stress. Easier said than done, right? It’s true that stress management may seem daunting to some, but if you make it part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast, stress management can easily become part of your daily life. From meditating to playing calming music or folding laundry, finding coping mechanisms to make stress management a part of your nighttime ‘wind down’ routine can really help you catch some zzz’s.
- Exercise helps. Science has proven that physical activity during the daytime can really help you sleep better at night, so making sure that you make time for exercise during the day is important. Even mild exercise like walking or yoga can help you sleep more soundly at night.
- Stop snacking and drinking before bed. If you tend to be a late night snacker or drinker, stop doing that now. Late night snacking can lead to weight gain, but it can also just make you uncomfortable. Drinking late at night can cause you to repeatedly get out of bed to make trips to the bathroom. It’s also important to cut out caffeine late in the day if you have trouble sleeping.
- Get rid of the blue light, and create a sleep sanctuary. Recent studies indicate that the blue light emitted from items like laptops and blu-ray players can interrupt sleep significantly. So, power down those electronics early and cover those lights so you can sleep better. Not only that but ‘unplugging’ before bed will help calm your mind and help you relax. Try keeping your bedroom cool (68 degrees or less), dark and quiet during sleep. Simulate dusk by dimming your lights for a couple of hours before bed.