6 tips for a better night's sleep

cute, sleeping dog

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important and beneficial things you can do for yourself. Over time, it can help you eat less, have more energy and improve your overall health. The recommended amount of sleep is nine to 12 hours per night for children ages six to 12 and seven to nine hours for adults.1 So if you’d like to give your health a boost and work on getting a better night’s sleep, here are some tips that may help.

Establish a sleep schedule

Start a consistent nightly routine to improve long-term sleep quality, especially on the weekends. Before bed, limit the amount of screen time on smartphones, tablets, TV and other devices, as it can worsen sleep.

Waking up at the same time every day can help condition your body to get into a rhythm, which will help improve your sleep quality. After a while, your body may become so used to your sleep schedule that you may not even need that annoying alarm clock.

Increase bright light exposure during the day

Take a walk or run and soak up the sunshine when you can. Not only will you reap the benefits of exercise but exposing yourself to bright light or natural sunlight will help you stay awake and have more energy throughout the day. It will also help your body wind down when the sun sets and sleep more deeply when it’s time for bed.

Watch what you eat and drink

Don’t eat a heavy or large meal before bed as it could lead to indigestion. Instead, opt for a smaller, healthy meal. Also, consuming caffeine late in the day can also have an impact on your sleep quality. Caffeine is a simulant and may keep you up later if consumed in the afternoon or evening. Try switching to water or an unsweetened, caffeine-free tea in the evening, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Create a comfortable space

Create an atmosphere where you can easily fall asleep. Make sure that the room is not too hot or cold and that there is minimal light that could disturb your sleep. You might need earplugs, an eye-mask, a fan or black-out curtains to suit your needs.

Take a relaxing bath

Soaking in a warm bath before bed could help you fall asleep faster and get a deeper sleep. If you don’t want to take a full bath, just dip your legs and feet in the warm water to help you relax.

Try to avoid naps

Naps can throw off your body’s natural sleep rhythm and leave you wide awake at bedtime. Try and take a nap before 3 p.m. and limit them to 10-20 minutes so you don’t feel groggy after.3

Talk to your doctor

If you’re still having trouble sleeping – whether it’s falling asleep or staying asleep – your doctor may be able to help or refer you to a sleep professional.

Visit the HMConnection page to read more articles.

1. cdc.gov/sleep
2. mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only.

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