Like most people, you've likely had your fair share of restless nights where falling asleep seems impossible. Whether you're lying awake dreading tomorrow's work tasks or reading about the latest news updates on your phone, sometimes it can feel like your mind is just too busy to shut off and relax. But if you're finding yourself tossing and turning more often than normal, you may be experiencing some serious sleep issues.
Sleep hygiene is crucial for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. But with work, family, and social obligations constantly pulling us in different directions, it can be tough to get enough sleep regularly. But, by building healthy sleep habits and creating a consistent bedtime routine, you can improve your sleep and overall quality of life. That's why we've made a list of seven positive changes for improving your sleep routine.
1. Stick To A Sleep Schedule
A regular sleep schedule is one of the best things you can do for your sleep health. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, you help to regulate your body’s natural circadian rhythms. These rhythms are controlled by a “circadian clock” in the brain that helps to determine when we feel tired and when we feel awake. By sticking to a regular sleep schedule, you can ensure that your circadian timing is in sync with your natural body rhythms. As a result, you’ll fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly throughout the night. Plus, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and energized instead of groggy and tired. So if you’re looking for a simple way to improve your sleep routine, make sure to keep a regular sleep schedule.
2. Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
A relaxing bedtime routine can not only help you wind down before bed but can increase your chances of getting a good night's sleep. Consider adding some relaxation techniques to your routines such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, deep breathing techniques, or some bedtime writing exercises. You may also want to take a warm shower or warm bath before bed, to help your body temperature drop and prepare for sleep. While it may take some time to get used to a new bedtime routine, once you find a few techniques that work for you, stick with them and make them part of your nightly routine to improve your sleep quality.
3. Choose Food And Drink Carefully
Most people know that they should avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking caffeine before bed, but there are other factors to consider when it comes to choosing food and drink for a good night's sleep. For example, eating too little can also disrupt sleep, leaving you feeling restless and hungry during the night. On the other hand, eating a light snack before bed can help you relax and drift off to sleep more easily. Warm milk and herbal tea are two popular bedtime beverages as they can help promote restful sleep. Although, keep in mind that you should try to avoid eating at least an hour before you go to bed so that your body has time to digest your food properly. This will help you avoid indigestion and ensure that you're not lying in bed feeling uncomfortable. Finally, while a glass of wine may sound like a good way to relax before bed, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, so it's best to avoid it if you're trying to improve your sleep routine. Being mindful of what you eat and drink before bed can make a big difference in how well you sleep.
4. Create A Space That Promotes A Good Night's Sleep
One way you can promote better sleep is by creating a space that is conducive to rest. This means making sure electronic devices are out of reach, as the blue light they emit can interfere with your natural sleep cycle. You might also want to consider playing relaxing music or reading a book before bed instead of staring at a screen. Additionally, it's important to keep your bedroom dark and cool, as bright lights and warm temperatures can make it harder to fall asleep. By making some simple changes to your environment, you can create a space that promotes a good night's sleep.
5. Keep An Active Daily Routine
While the two may seem unrelated, your nightly routine and daily routine go hand-in-hand. Whether you choose to engage in vigorous exercise or do some light yoga, getting up and moving around during the day helps to maintain physical activity, which promotes better sleep. You should also limit daytime naps, as they can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. If you have trouble sleeping, try adding a bit more physical activity to your daily routine.
6. Manage Stress
One positive change you can make to improve your sleep routine is to manage stress. Stress can lead to anxiety disorders and poor mental health, which can in turn cause sleep deprivation. Effectively managing stress can help you feel relaxed and improve your sleep quality. There are many ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and counseling. If you are having difficulty managing stress on your own, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you develop a plan to reduce your stress levels and improve your sleep quality.
7. Know When To Ask For Help
If you regularly struggle to fall asleep despite having a healthy bedtime routine, it may be time to seek help from a professional for your sleep problems. A sleep specialist can help diagnose sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea, and recommend treatment options to improve sleep quality. Getting enough sleep is essential for your physical and mental health, so it is important to take control of your sleeping habits and ask for help if you need it.
Lack of sleep could lead to a variety of health problems, like obesity, heart disease, and depression. At Premier Medical Associates, we want to help you avoid these serious health issues by giving you the good night’s sleep you need. When you meet with our primary care providers and sleep specialists, you’ll receive a diagnosis and treatment based on your specific symptoms and care needs.
With the chaos that often accompanies everyday life, everyone deserves to have quality sleep that lets them feel refreshed and ready to take on the next day. If you have difficulty falling asleep, reach out to the sleep specialists at Premier Medical Associates today.
Premier Medical Associates is an affiliate of the Allegheny Health Network and is the largest multi-specialty physician practice in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Our highly experienced care team provides services like nutrition and primary care for you and your loved one’s needs. If you would like more information, please follow up with your primary care physician.