It’s a brand new year and the best time of the year to set goals to become the happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilled version of yourself. If one of your intentions for 2019 is to sleep better, here are seven sleep habits our expert and AdvantageCare Physicians’ Dietitian and Nutritionist, Katherine Farrell Harris, recommends you start tonight!
- Stick to a sleep schedule! Sleeping and waking up at the same time, if possible every day of the week, helps in regulating your body’s internal clock. A total of seven to nine hours is recommended for adults.
- Turn off everything! Bright lights or screens can trick the brain into thinking it’s time to wake up. It also suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone which helps your daily sleep-wake cycle. Remember, in order for the biological sleep process to start, our brains need darkness. Consider using a sleep mask to help block unwanted light.
- Check your room temperature! For optimal sleep, the ideal temperature is somewhere between 60° F. and 67° F.
- Shut the noise! A quiet environment is also essential for good quality sleep. The World Health Organization recommends keeping ambient noise levels below 40 decibels. If unexpected noises are a problem during sleep, white noise has been found to help provide a consistent sound level. Another option to consider is using ear plugs.
- Say no to caffeine and alcohol when it gets close to your bedtime or in the late afternoon.
- If you have chronic heartburn or constant reflux, avoid large fatty meals before bed as it can reduce indigestion during the night.
- Get active! Schedule in at least ten minutes each day to exercise. Whether you go for a walk or dance to your favorite music at home, any activity is healthy and can help you sleep better.
As you work on your 2019 health goals, remember you can always schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor and discuss the best action plan for your body needs.