Dreaming of Better Sleep? Try These Seven Sleep Tips From a BayCare Sleep Expert
When you think of hygiene, washing your hands or other things we do to keep clean might come to mind. But hygiene is all about maintaining good health and that includes good sleep hygiene.
“Just like diet and exercise, sleep is important to overall health,” according to Marietta Bibbs, a BayCare certified clinical sleep educator. “Over time, poor sleep habits may lead to other health conditions such as weight gain, diabetes and hypertension. Sleep hygiene plays a vital role in well-being.”
Sleep hygiene is all about lifestyle choices and Bibbs recommends the following seven tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Changing your sleep schedule can alter your body’s circadian rhythm – the natural, internal process that regulates sleep.
- If you’re having trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and find something to do to help take your mind off your inability to sleep. Avoid any bright light. Bright light is a signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up.
- At least one hour before bedtime, turn off TVs, laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices. These devices create a bright glow or light which again, can signal to your brain to stay awake instead of sleep.
- Avoid big meals, spicy foods, caffeine including chocolate, or stimulants such as nicotine right before bed. Try to avoid alcohol too. A glass of wine may help you fall asleep, but it may also disrupt your sleep cycle causing you to wake up in the night.
- Get enough sleep. Most people need about 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble waking up or feel drowsy throughout the day, you may not be sleeping enough or sleeping too much.
- Avoid moderate-intense exercise such as running or lifting weights less than an hour before bedtime. Exercises such as yoga which relax your mind and body are fine.
- And lastly, make sure your bedroom is comfortable. Ensure your mattress and pillows are in good shape and the bedroom is a cool, comfortable temperature.
Bibbs says a routine of good sleep decisions every night can allow for a restful, quality sleep experience and ultimately, better health. According to one Irish proverb, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”