For something that we do so often, it’s crazy to think that many people don’t know that much about sleep, let alone how to do it effectively. So many of us struggle with feeling tired throughout the day or feeling restless when trying to fall asleep, but we rarely take the time to examine our sleep and lifestyle patterns to look for ways to improve how we rest. A good night’s sleep is the key to a great start to a productive day. A well-rested body and mind can get you through the hardest of days. Most importantly, good sleep affects your heart, weight, brain and your overall health. Additionally, people who sleep well tend to be more focused and more fit.
Dr. Jamila Battle specializes in treating a variety of sleep conditions that can affect your lifestyle and quality of life. We have compiled a list of steps that you can take today to help improve your sleep at night and give you well-rested days ahead.
- Establish a schedule. Your body does have an internal clock, and sometimes the slightest variation can throw it off. Try to establish a schedule of when to go to sleep and when to wake up each day and maintain that schedule even on the weekends.
- Avoid naps, especially in the late afternoon. Sometimes power naps can be helpful when you need an extra boost of energy throughout the day, but most of the time longer naps can actually do more harm than good. Taking naps in the late afternoon can throw off your sleep schedule and can make it harder to fall asleep at your bedtime, so they are best to avoid. If you find that you are still struggling to fall asleep and are napping throughout the day, try cutting out naps altogether.
- Have a daily exercise regimen. The best kind of exercise is anything that gets your body moving. Exercise is not only important to your health, but also to your quality of life!
- Evaluate your room. Your sleep environment can play a vital role in your quality of sleep. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep you may need to alter a few aspects of your environment to best promote good, restful sleep. Make sure your pillows, mattress, and sheets are comfortable and best suited for your particular needs and preferences. Your mattress and pillows should be supportive and should not be used past their life expectancy (mattresses are usually good for 9-10 years and pillows range anywhere from 1-10 years based on the material they are made of and the quality of the pillow). Sheets that cause you to sweat excessively or that are rough and irritating to your skin are not going to be the best at promoting comfortable and restful sleep. The temperature of your room should be somewhere between 60-67 degrees to best promote restful sleep. Your room should also be free of any light and noise distractions with the exception of any white noise machines or fans that you might find soothing.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. These can disrupt sleep and make it harder to fall asleep at bedtime. Try to avoid caffeine and spicy foods in the evenings as well. Meals should be consumed 2-3 hours before you plan on going to bed. If you find that you are struggling to fall asleep because you are hungry, try eating a light, healthy snack 45 minutes before bedtime.
- Get some sunlight during the day. Getting some sunlight in the morning and avoiding bright light in the evening can actually help keep your circadian rhythms in check.
- Wind down in the evenings. Your body needs time to prepare for sleep, so winding down in your last hour before heading to bed is essential to setting yourself up for a successful night’s rest. Establish a bedtime ritual that will help separate your daily activities from your nighttime activities and prepare your mind for rest. You can take this time to do something relaxing and calming such as reading a book. Try to avoid using electronic devices or watching TV during this time as the blue light can activate the brain and make you feel more awake. Also, try to avoid looking at your phone in the middle of the night or leaving the TV on while you sleep.
If you have taken these steps to get a better night’s rest and are still having trouble sleeping at night, contact Dr. Jamila Battle. We may be able to offer you additional advice and treatment based on your individual needs and condition. Don’t waste another night tossing and turning, call us today!