Staying the Course: How to Maintain Good Sleep Habits

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” While many are able to get a restful night of sleep after a long, busy day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder.

Sleep is a natural component of every living creature’s daily routine, so it would be seem that getting a full night of shut-eye shouldn’t be a struggle. However, millions of American adults just can’t get to sleep.

HelpGuide.org reports that, “how you feel during your waking hours hinges greatly on how well you sleep. Similarly, the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices can make an enormous difference to the quality of your nightly rest.” While you might fill every waking-moment of your day energy-zapping activities, that might not be enough to help you get the sleep your body demands. Maintaining good sleep habits is vital to your overall health, and these tips can help you achieve quality slumber time.

Sleep Schedule

This is one of the most crucial steps you can take to ensuring a better night’s sleep. Spend a week or two monitoring your own natural sleep patterns. During this time, do not use any sleep aids such as medications or an alarm clock to wake up. Note when your body naturally falls asleep and wakes itself back up. Then stick to that sleep schedule. Going to sleep and waking up at the same times each day is an extremely helpful habit for those struggling to sleep.

Napping

Especially on a lazy weekend afternoon, there’s nothing better than a good nap. While a nap can sometimes help you regain sleep you didn’t receive the prior night, napping can drastically affect your natural sleep schedule. If you regularly nap during the day and struggle to get to bed at night, consider eliminating your daytime nap.

Bedtime Routine

Whatever you are doing right before you go to sleep will affect how you sleep that night. Turn off the TV, disconnect from your tablet and smartphone, soften the lighting and get cozy in your bed. Begin winding down your day with light activities such as taking a bath, reading, choosing the next day’s clothes, or listening to soft music. Preparing for a good night’s sleep will help you achieve it.

Food and Beverage

Do you know any adult who doesn’t need some caffeine to get through the day? However, many people gulp down far too much caffeine throughout the day. Attempt to cut down on your average caffeine intake or try to stop drinking caffeine after a certain point in each day. Also, avoid eating large meals or consuming alcohol before hitting the hay. Both of these things can cause restless sleep.

Exercise

Not only is a regular fitness routine important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also a great way to get a better night’s rest. Taking 20-30 minutes each day to get in some physical activity will greatly impact the quality and quantity of your sleep. Also, relaxing exercises such as deep stretching or light yoga at night can help your body work off some excess energy while calming you down before bedtime.

Stress and Anxiety

If you are kept up at night because you’re stressed about a particular dilemma, consider some quiet meditation time before you go to sleep to help calm yourself down. If you’ve been struggling with stress over a substantial period of time, consult a medical practitioner about your anxiety and sleep issues. You might need a prescription sleep aid or an anxiety medication to help you.