Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Here are some good sleep habits that can help you get a better night’s sleep!

  1. Go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Some recommend being asleep before 10pm, when your circadian rhythm cycles into a phase of wakefulness.
  2. Avoid long naps during the day, which can make you less sleepy at night.
  3. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can make it hard to fall asleep. For some, it may be necessary to eliminate caffeine completely, but this should be done gradually, to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol can cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality.
  4. Get regular exercise, but not close to bedtime because it can stimulate you and raise your core body temperature, making it hard to fall asleep. Some sleep experts advise not to exercise for at least three to four hours before your sleep time.
  5. Don’t eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light protein snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep as it keeps your blood sugar from getting too low.
  6. Try taking a very hot bath for 20-30 minutes right before going to bed.
  7. Make your sleeping place peaceful and comfortable—dark, quiet, not too warm or too cold. Try a sleeping mask if light is a problem or earplugs if noise is an issue.
  8. Relax before going to bed. Read a calming book, listen to soothing music or guided imagery for relaxation. Do deep breathing exercises to calm your nervous system.
  9. Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or nurturing physical contact.
  10. Go to bed only when you feel truly sleepy.
  11. If you don’t feel drowsy after lying in bed for 15 minutes, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy. Don’t watch TV or use a computer or electronic device.
  12. If you tend to stay awake worrying about things, try keeping a journal where you chronicle your worries and concerns. Set aside time each day to write in the early evening.

We at Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto know that massage can also help you get a good nights sleep by soothing your nervous system. And an hour or more of concentrated bodywork does wonders to help your inner body healing awaken when you’re not getting the necessary 7-8 hours nightly recommended sleep.

~ Adapted from an article by Northshore Sleep Medicine in Illinois