If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you may have some of your bedtime habits to blame. Getting plenty of sleep is not only important for peace of mind, it affects your state of physical health as well. As our schedules get packed, falling asleep and getting the right amount of sleep gets more difficult. Practicing good sleep hygiene can be an effective way of getting a good shut-eye.

Do’s and Don’ts for a good night’s sleep

Maintain a regular routine: Maintaining regular bed times sets our body’s internal clock to expect sleep at a certain time every night. Try to follow the timings even on weekends. Waking up at the same time every day is even more important to set the circadian rhythm.

Avoid stimulants like caffeine late in the day: Coffee, tea, nicotine are all culprits in increasing wakefulness. Thus, refrain from taking them four to six hours before you plan to go to bed.

Avoid naps: Naps, especially later in the day, decrease sleep drive and make night time sleeping harder to achieve.

Have a soothing bedtime routine: Don’t stress out over falling asleep. If you’re a clock-watcher, place your clock away from where you face at night. Some light reading, a soothing bath or meditation can make you fall asleep faster. Avoid reading in bed, and use of cell phones and laptops just before you sleep.

Exercise: Done earlier in the day, physical activity can make you ‘tired’ enough to fall asleep at night. However, do not exercise rigorously right before bed time as endorphins and hormones like cortisol released soon after will make you more alert.

Keep dinners light: Heavy meals can cause indigestion and disturb your sleep. Have your meals at least three hours before you go to bed. Drink enough water to avoid waking up in the middle, but not so much as to wake you for bathroom breaks.

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