Keep a regular sleeping pattern
Try going to bed at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time in the morning. If you are getting enough sleep, you would not need an alarm clock. If you feel you need to nap during the day, make sure to do it in the early afternoon and limit it to thirty minutes, to avoid having insomnia later at night.
Create a relaxing environment
Make sure you have a peaceful surrounding in your bedroom by keeping noise as down as possible, for your body to relax and sleep deeply. Make sure your bed is comfortable and the temperature of the room is suitable; most people prefer a slightly cool room.
Eat right and exercise regularly
Avoid big heavy meals at night, since your stomach takes a lot of time to digest fatty foods and might keep you up. Decrease your caffeine intake during the day, since its effects might stay up to 12 hours. Avoid alcohol before bedtime, because even though alcohol might help you fall asleep faster, it decrease the quality of your sleep.
Manage your stress
Residual stress, worry, or anger from your day will make it hard for you to fall asleep. Learn how to deal with stressors and manage your thoughts, especially if you keep worrying about things that are out of your control. Learn some relaxation techniques that you can use before bedtime to calm your mind, like deep breathing for example.
Get back to sleep
It is normal for a lot of people to wake up for a while during the night. Make sure when you wake up to stay in a relaxed position, a cue for your body to get back to sleep. Do not think about the fact that you are awake and that you need to get back to sleep, just make relaxation your goal. Keep light dim, and avoid lights from electronics, for your body clock not to think that it is time to wake up.
Get exposed to light during the day
Melatonin is a hormone that is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle, and is stimulated by light exposure. Your body secretes less melatonin during the day and light exposure to help you stay awake, and more in the dark to make you sleepy. Spending long time within an office during the day, and being exposed to light of the TV or computers during the night will disrupt the releasing pattern of melatonin.
Know when to see a sleep doctor
If you have tried several techniques and still having sleeping problems, make sure to check with a specialist. Some of the problems that might push you to seek the help of a doctor are:
- Persistent daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Loud snoring accompanied by pauses in breathing
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Frequent morning headaches
- Crawling sensations in your legs or arms at night
- Inability to move while falling asleep or waking up
- Physically acting out dreams during sleep
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times
- Smith, M., Robinson, L., & Segal, R. (2014). How to Sleep Better: Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. Retrieved 22 July 2014
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