Shakespeare has a paean about sleep in almost all of his works. He even goes on to call it ‘Great nature’s second course’. There is no surprise here. Sleep is of vital importance for our existence. How you feel during your waking hours hinges greatly on how well you sleep. Similarly, the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine. Well-planned strategies are essential to deep, restorative sleep you can count on, night after night. By learning to avoid common enemies of sleep and trying out a variety of healthy sleep-promoting techniques, you can discover your personal prescription to a good night’s rest. The following tips will help you optimize your sleep patterns so you can be productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.
- Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends even when it may be tempting to stay up late.
- Wake up at the same time every day. As with your bedtime, try to maintain your regular wake-time even on weekends.
- Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late.
- Increase light exposure during the day
- Remove your sunglasses in the morning and let light onto your face.
- Spend more time outside during daylight hours.
- Let as much light into your home/workspace as possible.
- Regulated diet and liquid intake. Avoid big meals before going to bed. Cut down on your alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Reserve your bed for sleep. Using your computer or watching the TV while sitting on the bed makes going to sleep harder. If you use the bed only for sleep, your body will associate the bed to sleep. Hence going to sleep becomes easier.
If you’ve tried the tips above and are still struggling with sleep problems, you may have a sleep disorder that requires professional treatment. Consider scheduling a visit with a sleep therapist if, despite your best efforts at self–help, you are still troubled by any of the following symptoms:
- Persistent daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Loud snoring accompanied by pauses in breathing
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- You do not feel refreshed after a night of sleep
- Frequent morning headaches