Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so. Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality (42). Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
Time Increase Your Sleep
Drinking lots of fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs. For some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. For others, eating before bed leads to indigestion and make sleeping more difficult. If you need a bedtime snack, try:. Do you find yourself unable to sleep or waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.
Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up to the top of your head. Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Concentrate on how relaxed this place makes you feel. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep. Earplugs may also help. Keep your room cool. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.
Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex. By not working, watching TV, or using your computer in bed, your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep and sex, which makes it easier to wind down at night. Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall asleep again, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises.
Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve.
You should also limit your intake of fluid before bed in order to prevent waking up for trips to the bathroom. Avoid substances such as nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol , which can interfere with sleep. Both nicotine and caffeine are stimulants; alcohol initially causes drowsiness, but ultimately can disrupt sleep, leaving you feeling tired the following day.
Take a walk after your evening meal or practice light, restorative yoga. Moving your body can promote better sleep, helping you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper rest. However, it is best not to exercise too close to bedtime, otherwise you might feel too energized to fall asleep. Establish a ritual that signals to the body that it is time to unwind.
You can create a quiet time before bed—one that does not include television, computers, or social media—as some research suggests that the bright lights of television, smart phones, and tablets before bedtime can interfere with sleep. During this quiet time, performing a light oil self-massage, taking a relaxing shower or bath, reading an inspirational book, listening to soothing music, or drinking herbal tea can all help your body relax.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Keeping the bedroom attractive, quiet, and cool is conducive to relaxation and restful sleep. Once in bed, perform a relaxing body scan, inviting each part of the body to release any tension you may be holding from the day.
You can also practice a bedtime sleep-inducing meditation to quiet the mind. This can be said out loud a few times and then repeated. By adjusting your sleep habits, you will be able to sleep better throughout the night. As you commit to better health, you also must allow yourself the rest you need. Stage 2 non-REM sleep is a period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep.
Your heartbeat and breathing slow, and muscles relax even further. Your body temperature drops and eye movements stop. Brain wave activity slows but is marked by brief bursts of electrical activity.
You spend more of your repeated sleep cycles in stage 2 sleep than in other sleep stages. Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning. It occurs in longer periods during the first half of the night. Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels during sleep. Your muscles are relaxed and it may be difficult to awaken you.
Brain waves become even slower. REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep. Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids. Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness. Your breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels.
Your arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralyzed, which prevents you from acting out your dreams. As you age, you sleep less of your time in REM sleep. Two internal biological mechanisms —circadian rhythm and homeostasis—work together to regulate when you are awake and sleep. Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.
They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm. Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues light, temperature about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.
Sleep-wake homeostasis keeps track of your need for sleep. The homeostatic sleep drive reminds the body to sleep after a certain time and regulates sleep intensity. This sleep drive gets stronger every hour you are awake and causes you to sleep longer and more deeply after a period of sleep deprivation.
Factors that influence your sleep-wake needs include medical conditions, medications, stress, sleep environment, and what you eat and drink. Perhaps the greatest influence is the exposure to light. Specialized cells in the retinas of your eyes process light and tell the brain whether it is day or night and can advance or delay our sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to light can make it difficult to fall asleep and return to sleep when awakened.
Night shift workers often have trouble falling asleep when they go to bed, and also have trouble staying awake at work because their natural circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. In the case of jet lag, circadian rhythms become out of sync with the time of day when people fly to a different time zone, creating a mismatch between their internal clock and the actual clock.
Your need for sleep and your sleep patterns change as you age, but this varies significantly across individuals of the same age. Babies initially sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day, which may boost growth and development especially of the brain. School-age children and teens on average need about 9. Most adults need hours of sleep a night, but after age 60, nighttime sleep tends to be shorter, lighter, and interrupted by multiple awakenings.
Elderly people are also more likely to take medications that interfere with sleep. In general, people are getting less sleep than they need due to longer work hours and the availability of round-the-clock entertainment and other activities. Many people feel they can "catch up" on missed sleep during the weekend but, depending on how sleep-deprived they are, sleeping longer on the weekends may not be adequate.
You spend about 2 hours each night dreaming but may not remember most of your dreams.
How to Sleep Better
A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep. Keep your sleep/wake cycle (also called your circadian rhythm on track by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day—even on weekends. If you.