Healthy Sleeping Habits

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, developing healthy sleeping habits is one of the best things you can do. The following tips can help you get regular, restful sleep often:

  • Stick to a schedule

    Going to bed and waking up at the same time, even on weekends, regulates your body’s internal clock. A schedule can help you fall asleep at the same time more regularly.

  • Avoid naps

    Naps, especially later in the day, can make it harder to feel tired enough to sleep later in the evening. While short naps can improve our function later in the day, if you’re having trouble sleeping, try cutting them out of your routine.

  • Exercise

    Daily or regular exercise can help you feel relaxed. While vigorous exercise is more beneficial, even light exercise, such as going walking, is better than no activity at all. Exercise at any time is better for your sleep than no exercise, but for a better night’s sleep, try to avoid strenuous workouts late at night. The stimulation, higher blood pressure and raised body temperature can interfere with some people's sleep.

  • Make a ritual

    Having a routine you do to wind down from your day before bedtime can relaxing. It can separate your sleeping time from the rest of your daily activities that can cause stress or anxiety. A ritual could include a series of slow stretches, meditating, reading, taking a shower or bath and any other activity that helps you calm down.

  • Create a relaxing room

    Your sleep environment should be cool (somewhere around 65 degrees) and free from any noise that can prevent you from sleeping. It also helps to eliminate light and other distractions where you can. If you’re having trouble eliminating light and noise in your room, try eyeshades, earplugs, white noise machines, blackout curtains and other devices. If the air quality in your room is too dry or too humid, try a humidifier or dehumidifier to make breathing more comfortable.

    It may also be a good idea to remove any distractions such as TVs, laptops and other electronic devices and work materials from your bedroom.

  • Keep your circadian rhythms in check

    Circadian rhythms are your “daily cycle.” By exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning and avoiding bright lights in the evening, you can help your body maintain its natural rhythm.

  • Find a comfortable bed and bedding

    If your mattress isn’t comfortable and supportive, it can keep you from falling or staying asleep. If you can, replace any blankets and pillows with ones that feel more comfortable to you. Good-quality mattresses have a lifespan of approximately nine or 10 years, and may need replacement.

  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and heavy meals

    When consumed in the evening, these can disrupt sleep. Caffeine’s stimulating effects can last into the night, and big meals can prevent comfortable sleep by causing indigestion and other discomfort.

  • Avoid electronics before bed

    For some people, using electronic devices like smartphones and laptops can make it hard to fall asleep. This is because the type of light they emit can stimulate the brain in unwanted ways.

  • If you can’t sleep, do something else

    When you only use your bed for sleep, it can strengthen your association between the bedroom and sleep. If you can’t sleep, leave the room and do something relaxing until you feel tired enough to try again. If you associate certain items or activities with anxiety, try to identify and eliminate them from your room.

If your sleep problems continue, talk with your doctor about whether a sleep study is right for you. A sleep study can help pinpoint the cause of your sleeping trouble and help your doctor create a treatment plan for you.