Behaviors That Help You Sleep

No one likes to toss and turn all night. There are things you can do to help yourself get a better night’s rest. A consistent wind-down routine every day can help you fall asleep more quickly and reliably.

Take a Hot Bath76728681-small

Your temperature naturally dips at night. Two hours before bed, soak in the tub for 20 to 30 minutes. The rapid cool-down period immediately afterward relaxes you and is more likely to put you in a deep sleep.

Install a Dimmer Switch

Sitting in a dimly lit room before getting ready for bed can put you in the right mind-set for sleep.

Shun PM Stimulants

Skipping your normal cup of coffee in the evening should help you fall asleep quicker because caffeine is a stimulant. If you have trouble sleeping, you should skip drinking coffee after noontime because it can remain in your system for a long time.

Shut Down Electronics

While you may find it relaxing to catch up with friends on social media before bed, this practice can actually increase the amount of time you toss and turn. Lit screens (including TVs) are stimulating so it’s best to avoid them.

Wear Socks to Bed

If cold feet are keeping you awake, especially during the winter, warm them up with a soft pair of socks. The extra layer under the covers can help improve circulation in your extremities and help you fall asleep.

Getting Enough Sleep While Traveling

466240817-smallWhen you’re traveling, it’s important that you’re rested enough to enjoy yourself. I If you’re not getting enough sleep, you will feel tired and won’t be able to enjoy the exciting sights and experiences of your trip. Getting a good night’s sleep is always important, but even more so when you’re traveling.

There are plenty of ways to help you sleep well while traveling:

– Try to get as much exposure to natural sunlight as possible when you arrive
– Take B vitamins early on the travel day
– Avoid exercise 2 hours before bed
– Drinking warm milk or cocoa about 2 hours before bed is helpful
– Avoid eating large meals before bed
– Keep lights dim before bed and avoid looking at computer and TV screens
– Use an eye mask or ear plugs to keep out light and noises

Some people find it difficult to sleep in a hotel. Unfamiliar surroundings, noise, a new bed and the local climate can keep you awake as well. Trying to stick to your regular sleep schedule, exercising during the day, and adjusting the settings in your hotel room can help you feel more comfortable and fall asleep easier.

Keep in mind that it is especially important to rest on the way to your destination if it is going to be daytime when you arrive. However, if you will be arriving in the evening or at night, it’s best to stay awake so that you will want to sleep when you get there and easily adjust to the time change.

Sleep Tips for Night Shift Workers

86492401-smallThe human body is naturally wired to be awake during the day and to sleep at night. However not all career paths offer the luxury of sleep while the sun is down. Emergency room nurses, late night security guards and bakers are all working hard through the night while the rest of us are sleeping.

It’s common that people who work the later shifts don’t get enough quality sleep and are more prone to developing work shift sleep disorder (SWSD). SWSD is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder involves a problem with your body’s 24-hour internal clock. Light and dark help your body know when to be active and when to rest. When these are reversed, your body’s internal clock needs to be reset in order to let you sleep during the day.

There are ways you can help your body get better sleep during the day and feel more active during your shift at night:

Create a Restful Environment

To encourage uninterrupted sleep, turn off or unplug your phone and hang blackout shades on the windows. Schedule appointments and other activities outside of your designated “sleep period”. This includes letting family and friends know to not disturb you during these times of the day.

Take a Short Nap before your Shift

Napping for up to 30 minutes just before working a late night shift can help increase alertness and enhance your performance. Napping also helps quicken reaction time, improves your memory, and helps prevent you from making mistakes in the work place. Keep your naps short though, the longer your nap, the more likely you are to feel groggy when you wake up.

Stick to a Routine

Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day helps promote good sleep. Being consistent is very important, even if this means maintaining your new sleep schedule on weekends and days off.

Make Healthy Life Choices

Eat a healthy diet and include physical activity into your daily routine. If exercise energizes you, plan to work out after you wake up, rather than before you go to sleep. Resist the temptation to use junk food or nicotine to stay awake, as well as avoiding alcohol to help you get to sleep.

If these tips don’t help, consult your doctor or a sleep specialist. Sometimes other underlying factors, such as sleep apnea, may be hindering your ability to get a good night’s (or day’s) sleep.