Getting better sleep can be a challenge, but these top tips can help you optimize your sleep routine:
1. Develop a sleep-smart routine and stick to it. A consistent routine that supports your natural circadian rhythm is key for healthy sleep. Try to go to sleep and rise about the same time every day— even on weekends. Limit daytime naps unless you are sleep-deprived. And create a nighttime ritual that helps you wind down before sleep.
2. Get smart about your light exposure. Melatonin, a hormone that is influenced by light, helps you regulate your sleep-wake cycle. To optimize sleep, get more sunshine during the day, reduce ‘screen time’ (use of computer, smart phone, etc.) before bedtime, and sleep in total darkness.
3. Make your environment ideal for sleep. Create a cool (but comfortable), dark, quiet space for sleeping. Choose a quality natural mattress, pillows, and bedcovers. Avoid fragrance, and launder frequently. Reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex.
4. Eat and drink wisely. Limit big meals close to bedtime, avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Stay hydrated, but limit liquid intake too late to avoid nighttime sleep interruptions.
5. Reduce stress—both during the day and at night. Physical activity during the day (not too close to bedtime) can improve your sleep. Make time for daily meditation, self-care, and/or relaxation to lower stress levels, which can make getting to sleep easier.
If you find yourself waking at night with worries or a racing mind, start a practice of journaling your worries or to-dos before bed, and letting your mind relax.