Ten Tips for Better Sleep
Kirsten Allen, PsyD, ABPP, clinical rehabilitation psychologist at Shepherd Center, offers advice on how to sleep well.
It’s no secret – getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your physical and mental well-being. But, so many of us still struggle to get the proper amount of quality sleep on a regular basis, which can affect our mood, productivity, and overall health. Fortunately, by adopting healthy sleep hygiene practices, you can pave the way for a restful and rejuvenating slumber.
1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
One of the best ways to manage your sleep patterns is by keeping a consistent sleep schedule. Aim to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations. Minimize daytime naps unless medically recommended. If you benefit from naps, limit them to 20-30 minutes. This all helps set your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.
2. Set a sensible bedtime.
It's crucial to ensure you get enough sleep each night. The recommended sleep time for a healthy adult is typically seven to eight hours; however, everyone is unique. Plan your bedtime accordingly to allow your body enough time to rest and rejuvenate.
3. Listen to your body.
Only go to bed when you’re sleepy. If you find yourself lying awake for more than 20 minutes, don't force it. Instead, get out of bed and engage in a quiet activity with minimal light exposure until you feel drowsy.
4. Create a bedtime oasis.
Quality of sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep you get. Keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet can create a more restful environment and might promote better sleep.
5. Stay active and eat well.
Regular exercise and a balanced diet contribute to better sleep quality. Engaging in physical activity during the day can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep at night. Avoid intense workouts close to bedtime as they can temporarily increase alertness.
6. Create a bedtime routine.
Establishing a soothing bedtime routine can signal your body that it's time to wind down. Reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle stretches are all examples of calming bedtime activities. Start winding down at least 30-45 minutes before your normal bedtime.
7. Keep the bed for only sleep and intimacy.
Avoid using your bed as a workspace or a place to watch movies, as this can disrupt your sleep patterns.
8. Avoid caffeine or alcohol.
Both alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your sleep patterns. Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening, and avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
9. Keep snacks to a minimum.
Heavy meals before sleep can cause discomfort and disrupt your sleep. If you're hungry at night, opt for a light and healthy snack to satisfy your hunger without overloading your digestive system.
10. Turn off electronics 30 minutes before bed.
Studies have shown that using your phone, computer, or television before bed can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, a natural hormone that is released to help you feel tired and ready for sleep. The bright lights on your devices can stimulate feelings of alertness when you should be dozing off.
Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.