Are you getting a good sleep?

Sleep is something that is so important, yet many people are not getting enough. Though you may not be able to help the things that impact sleep during the night, you can prepare yourself for sleep as best as possible. This is often called sleep hygiene – and really involves setting practices and routines to optimize your setting and body to prepare for sleep.

Most adults need about 7.5-8 hours of sleep to function well, while kids, teens, and those who are pregnant need even more. This is also an average- some need more or less than these guidelines.

When it comes down to it, there are three main purposes for sleep. These are rest, restoration, and reorganization. It is required to process emotional reactions, manage mood, and even transfer memories. So, not only does a good sleep help you feel more ready for your day, it is actually an active process where specific regions of the brain have increased activity.

If you are having trouble falling asleep, give these tips a try.

1. Try a relaxing pre-bed routine – take a warm bath or shower, dim the lights and try a calm, quiet activity.

2. Stick to a regular sleep schedule – trying to both go to bed and get up at the same time daily helps to set a schedule, trying to avoid naps can also help this.

3. Limit stimulation before bed – this includes afternoon caffeine, alcohol after dinner, large/spicy meals late at night and even exercise 4-6 hours before bed.

4. Try relaxation techniques (both physical and mental) to de-stress before getting into bed.

5. Only use your bed for sleeping – not as a place for watching TV, doing work, reading or studying.

6. Keep up a regular physical activity routine – although exercise is not ideal right before bed, keeping active helps to reduce stress levels, and has been reported to improve sleep quality.

7. Do not go to bed either very full or very hungry, try a light snack in the evening if needed.

8. Go to bed when you are drowsy, and if you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do a relaxing activity.

Give a few of these tips a try, and see if you notice a difference with your sleep.

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