How we feel during the day is directly related to how well we sleep at night. If you have trouble getting to sleep each night, there simple things each of us can try to improve our ability to sleep at night. Below are some suggestions:
- Set a regular bed time: Go to bed at the same time each night. Try to stick to this even during the weekends. Choose a time that you would normally feel tired so you won’t toss and turn.
- Wake up at the same time each day. If you are in a good sleep routine, getting up at the same time each day will help keep the routine going.
- Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for lost sleep, try to take a nap during the day rather than sleeping late.
- Be smart about napping. While napping can be a great way to recharge, for some, especially older adults, napping may make insomnia worse. If you do nap, do it in the early afternoon and limit to 30 minutes.
- Increase your light exposure during the day. Spend more time outside if possible and let as much light into your house as possible.
- Turn off your TV or computer. Set a specific time each evening to turn off the TV and/or computer and stick with it. Listen to music or read a good book instead.
- Don’t read from a backlit devise just before bed. If using an e-reader that is backlit, turn off the light and use another source of lighting when reading.
- Change the light bulbs in your bedroom. Eliminate bright light bulbs, use a lower wattage and try a bulb with more of a yellow cast rather than a blue cast to the light. This helps your body relax and prepare to sleep.
- Keep your bedroom cool and as dark as possible.
- Cut down on caffeine in the evenings, try to avoid large meals just before bed and limit alcohol intake.
Not every tip above works for every person. The important thing is to try to have a structure and routine to your evenings. Try to begin to relax and prepare for bed, allowing your body time to wind down and begin to get ready for sleep. Keep working at it till you find the right combination that works for you.