The ability to fall asleep—and stay asleep long enough to feel restored and refreshed in the morning—is vital to your overall health and well being. Sleep is also essential in helping your body heal from an injury, and/or to cope with pain or illness.
Your behaviors during the day, and especially before bedtime, can have a major impact on your sleep. They can promote healthy sleep or contribute to sleeplessness.
Your daily routines – what you eat and drink, the medications you take, how you schedule your days and how you choose to spend your evenings – can significantly impact your quality of sleep. Even a few slight adjustments can, in some cases, mean the difference between sound sleep and a restless night.
If you have difficulty sleeping or want to improve your sleep, try following these healthy sleep habits:
1.Make time for sleep.
Very often, sleep is the first thing busy people compromise, so simply making time to sleep will help protect our health and well-being. To achieve this, you can create and commit to a schedule. The best time to go to bed is before 10:00 p.m. so that you can allow your body to experience that critical rebuilding Pitta time. It is also ideal to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, whether it is a weeknight or a weekend night. This can regulate your body’s clock, and help you fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.
2. Watch when and what you eat.
What you eat and how late you eat can also affect how you sleep. According to Ayurveda, it is best to eat a light dinner and/or avoid a large meal within a couple of hours of bedtime. You should also limit your intake of fluid before bed in order to prevent waking up for trips to the bathroom.
3. Create a comfortable sleeping environment.
Keeping the bedroom attractive, quiet, and cool is conducive to relaxation and restful sleep.
4. Try out a more comfortable adjustable bed
If you have trouble sleeping through the night, you may not be comfortable enough. If you answer yes to questions like these, you may benefit from trying a different mattress:
- Do you wake up and shift positions a lot?
- Do you have to try 3 or 4 positions before you can fall asleep?
- Does back pain, shoulder pain, or any type of joint pain wake you up?
Any adjustable beds will work well for you if it provides a balance of both supporting the natural curves in your spine and providing enough comfort for your joints to rest comfortably through the night. An adjustable mattress that sags—meaning that you can see a compression in some part of the mattress—will almost always create sleep discomfort and can worsen back problems.
5. Try relaxation techniques.
In one study, people who practiced meditation saw improvements in total sleep time and sleep quality. Other relaxation strategies—like yoga, deep breathing, and progressive relaxation—are also effective tools for promoting good sleep.
6. Don’t drink alcohol right before bed.
Booze might seem like an obvious choice for calming down pre-bedtime, but it can actually disrupt sleep cycles later in the night. You don’t have to give up the good stuff completely; just drink it with dinner (around 6 o’clock) and skip the nightcap.
7. Minimize disturbing noises.
If external noises are beyond your control (a busy street outside the window, a neighbor’s barking dog), cover them up with the sound of a bedside fan, a white noise machine, or other sounds that help us sleep.
8. Do some leg exercises.
We know we told you not to exercise before bed. But apparently, some easy leg lifts, squats, or your leg exercise of choice can help divert blood flow to the legs and away from the brain. This can help quiet the mind, making it easier to slip into dreamland.
9. See a doctor.
If you’ve tried everything and nothing’s worked, it might be time to consult a professional. A doctor can help rule out any sleep disorders and identify lifestyle factors or medications that might be getting in the way of a good night’s rest.
10. Avoid daytime naps.
Although you may feel tired during the day when you have not had a good night’s rest the evening before, it’s important that you avoid daytime naps, particularly those in the afternoon. By adjusting your sleep habits, you will be able to sleep better throughout the night.