Why Do We Need Sleep?
- Increased stress
- Impaired memory
- Shortened temper
- Lower motivation
- Problems with decision making and doing tasks
Ten Tips for Better Sleep
- Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
- Develop a sleep ritual. Whether it is to take a hot bath, have a cup of herbal tea, or read a book, doing the same things each night just before bed cues your body to settle down for the night.
- Exercise regularly. This can help to relieve tension and tire you out. But be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime or you may have a hard time falling asleep.
- Cut down on stimulants. Consuming stimulants, such as caffeine, in the evening interferes with falling asleep and prevents deep sleep. Instead, have a cup of herbal tea, which is noncaffeinated, before bed.
- Don't smoke. Smokers tend to take longer to fall asleep, awaken more often, and experience disrupted, fragmented sleep.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. You may fall asleep faster, but drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime interrupts and fragments sleep, leading to poor quality sleep.
- Unwind early in the evening. Deal with worries and distractions several hours before going to bed. Make a list of things you need to do tomorrow, so you won't think about them all night. Try relaxation exercises, like slow rhythmic breathing, when you are in bed.
- Sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation. It's difficult to get deep, restful sleep on a bed that's too small, too soft, or too hard.
- Create a restful sleep environment. A dark, quiet room is best for sleeping. Sudden, loud noises or bright lights can disrupt sleep. A room that is too hot or too cold can disturb sleep, as well.
- Make sleep a priority. Say "yes" to sleep even when you're tempted to stay up late. You'll feel healthier, refreshed, and ready to take on the day.
The Better Sleep Council http://www.bettersleep.org
National Sleep Foundation http://www.sleepfoundation.org
Better Sleep Council Canada http://www.bettersleep.ca
Canadian Sleep Society http://www.canadiansleepsociety.ca
Healthy sleep tips. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/healthy-sleep-tips. Accessed March 28, 2014.
In the bedroom: sleep strategies. Better Sleep Council Canada website. Available at: http://www.bettersleep.ca/. Accessed March 28, 2014.
Why is sleep important? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why.html. Updated February 22, 2012. Accessed March 28, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014 -
- Update Date: 03/28/2014 -