Dos and Don’ts for a Good Night’s Sleep
by Tracey Pollack
If you’re tired of sleepless nights spent laying wide awake, you’re not alone. In fact, 60% of Americans are sleep deprived today, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Whether you stay up tossing and turning, or stay out too late at night, skimping on sleep too long can harm your physical and mental health. But you don’t have to feel drowsy and lousy after another restless night. There are a number of dos and don’ts for getting the quality sleep you need. With these savvy sleeping secrets, you’ll find that when you snooze, you win.
DO Give Screen Time a Rest at Night
If you’re scrolling on your cellphone or watching TV for hours before bed, no wonder you’re up all night! See, the blue light from electronics actually tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime, which can interfere with your sleep. Your brain needs time to wind down and prepare to go to sleep, so log off all electronics and turn off all bright lights at least 30 minutes before bed.
DON’T Lose Sleep Over Stress and Anxiety
Problems and pressures can rile up your emotions and keep you up all night. Rather than let your struggles sabotage your sleep, avoid working, worrying and arguing before you go to bed. Instead, have a relaxing evening ritual that helps you fall asleep. Listen to soothing music, soak in a warm bath or read a good book. If stress is keeping you up at night, have a notepad next to your bed to write down the issues making you worry. This lets you put them out of your mind for the night and deal with them in the morning.
DO Put Long Naps to Bed
Long naps during the day may seem like the perfect remedy for a lack of sleep, but they can actually make it harder to fall asleep at night. When you really need a nap to power through your day, limit yourself to a 30-minute catnap in the early afternoon. This is just enough time to refresh your body and recharge your mind, yet it won’t throw off your sleep schedule. If your power nap keeps you up at night, then avoid napping at all.
DON’T Close Your Eyes To the Effects of Heavy Meals and Alcohol
The way you dine and drink at night can disrupt the way you sleep. Late-night meals of rich or spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion, which make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bed. If you get hungry in the evening, reach for a light snack to help you get through the night. You should also rethink your evening drinks. While alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep, it makes it harder to stay asleep. And the caffeine in colas, coffee and teas can keep you up all night. Stick to a warm glass of milk or a soothing cup of decaffeinated tea.
DO Wake Up to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Sure, it’s tempting to stay up later and sleep in longer during the weekend, especially after a stressful week. But waking up at noon actually makes it much harder to get up early during the week. Instead, start maintaining a regular sleep routine by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. This will help to regulate your body’s internal clock and ensure that you’re getting the sleep you need at night.
When you sleep better, you naturally feel better. So use these tried-and-true tricks to say good night to sleepless nights.