Knowing how to sleep ought to be as natural as dreaming but several factors interfere. Uncomfortable beds, a sedentary lifestyle, and noise are just some of the reasons people say they can’t sleep. Get Sleep, a division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School says, “It’s possible to eliminate many minor sleep problems by creating a comfortable sleep environment, maintaining a healthful balance of nutrition and exercise, and engaging in relaxing activities near bedtime.”
Get Sleep includes Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep but suggests creating a sleep plan designed specifically to help you sleep better. “Experts acknowledge that most people find it difficult to follow all these recommendations; however, they also stress that it isn’t typically necessary to do so,” Get Sleep says. After familiarizing yourself with the tried and true advice pick and choose what helps you to sleep well.
Regular Schedule: Stick to a schedule 7 days a week for optimal results. How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep says, “Most people get hungry at 7 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. because they’ve eaten at those times for years. Going to bed at about the same time every night can make sleep as regular as hunger.” Develop regular sleeping habits.
Regular Exercise: Even after a fitful night avoid that nap and get some exercise. How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep says, “Being less active is one of the worst things an insomniac can do.” Especially before bedtime, try light activity such as stretching. Find out what time works best for you. Some find that a brisk walk in the late afternoon, for example, leads to a good night.
Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine affects people differently depending on metabolism. Your Pathway to Wellness recommends maintaining a caffeine log for some weeks, detailing when and how much caffeine you consume and how you sleep afterward. Find out how caffeine affects your ability to sleep and adjust consumption accordingly.
Confront Anxiety: Worries keeping you awake? Place a notepad and pen by your bed and jot down what you’re afraid you’ll forget. Healthy Sleep Habits suggests, “If you tend to worry, schedule a time early in the day to worry, write worries with possible solutions in a journal, or talk your worries over with a friend.”
Create a Restful Atmosphere: Is Your bed inviting sleep? Try sleeping in a cool room—about 60 degrees Fahrenheit—with the heat off and a window open. Play music or white noise to drown out bothersome noises. If that doesn’t work, try earplugs. Sleeping Aids for Adults offers several ideas from special pillows to aromatherapy and includes help for children. Take your mattress seriously, too. Make sure where you sleep contributes to sleep.
Professional Help:; If all your sincere efforts produce no results, seek professional help with how to sleep. Get Sleep says, “Numerous studies have found that insufficient sleep increases a person’s risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.” Do an online search for “sleep medicine center site:edu” to find a sleep center near you. Say good night to troubled sleep.