Sleep Tips

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Sleep Tips

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good “sleep hygiene.” Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:
  1. Make sleep a priority. Keep a consistent sleep and wake schedule – even on the weekends. If necessary, try adding sleep to your to-do list. And don’t be late.This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights and activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music or soaking in a hot bath.

  3. Nap - wisely. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find yourself sleeping for longer than 60 minutes then you should stop.

  4. Exercise daily. Complete your workouts at least two hours before bedtime to ensure quality sleep. Even a brisk walk can increase blood flow and improve your sleep.
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  5. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.

  6. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise" machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
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  7. Ban furry friends from your bed. Every little purr or tail wag is likely to disrupt your sleep, no matter how much you two enjoy cuddling. Plus, the animal dander Fido and Fluffy bring with them into the bedroom can trigger reactions in people with allergies, further disrupting your slumber.

  8. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.

  9. 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 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. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.

  10. Get tired. If you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
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If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional. You may also benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.

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