Doing Your Body Justice: Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

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Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

Having trouble sleeping at night? Waking up feeling tired? The stress of everyday life, especially work, relationships, and illnesses, can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night. There are some things you can do to try to attain a more fulfilling night of rest.

Create a Sleep Schedule

It’s a common recommendation, but it’s important. Your body responds to a consistent schedule and going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day will set your sleep-wake cycle. You shouldn’t lay in bed for more than 15 minutes or so without falling asleep. Once you hit the 15-minute mark, try getting up and doing something soothing to do until you feel more tired.

Watch the Stimulants

Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are all no-nos if you have trouble sleeping. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants and take a long time to get out of your system. Alcohol, while it makes most people sleepy, will wear off and make you feel worse when you wake up in the middle of the night.

Look at Your Medications

Talk to your doctor about your current medications, no matter what you’re taking them for. Some allergy meds may make you sleepy while some antidepressants or blood pressure meds may stimulate you. Figure out if anything you are taking at night should be taken in the morning instead.

Exercise

Exercise is good. Exercise before bed is bad. Cardiovascular exercise will ultimately help you to improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep. You need to exercise as early in the day as possible, though. The physical effects of exercise can take up to 4 hours to wear off, making it tough for you to fall asleep.

Talk to Your Doctor

If all else fails, talk to your doctor. Something more serious, like sleep apnea, may be contributing to your fatigue or inability to sleep through the night. You may need testing to determine the actual underlying cause of your sleep issues.