Restless nights? Days of little to no sleep? It’s never fun. But there is hope.

Let’s look at 7 ways we can improve our sleep. In the bedroom. Starting today.

Good sleep promotes health. Sleep hygiene is behaviors you can adopt to get better sleep. Here are 7 ways to improve your evening rest and rejuvenation.

1. Develop a helpful pre-bedtime routine.

The hour before bedtime is important to prepare your body to wind down for the day. A warm bath or shower can relax you. It also will ease muscular tension in the body. And it improves circulation – helping your body to support your vital organs, repair tissues and shift you from the active energies of the day to the relaxing rhythms of the night.

2. Exercise – earlier in the day.

Exercise will improve your sleep – just do it earlier in the day, preferably any strenuous exercise before 2 p.m. Taking a walk or less strenuous exercise may work better later in the day. Give yourself a gap of several hours between your exercise and going to sleep.

3. Have regular sleep hours.

Our bodies respond well to routines. Go to bed at the same time – give or take 20 minutes. Wake up at the same time – including weekends and vacations. Your regular schedule will reap healthy rewards.

Avoid naps where possible. Napping can make up for some loss of sleep in the evenings. But they can interfere with night time sleeping routines on an ongoing basis.

4. Drink before bedtime.

Sorry – not alcohol or caffeine.  This Do Not list includes tea and sodas. Coffee before noon is best. Caffeine will have lasting effects.

Alcohol also disrupts sleep. Both are diuretics causing you to have to get up to go the bathroom at night – causing more sleep disruption.

On the other hand, do drink water and for those without lactose intolerance, warm milk if it agrees with you.

5. Do not eat spicy or heavy food before bedtime. Limit food right before bed.

The digestive tract requires time to finish processing food and repair itself during sleep.

6.Read, watch TV or scan your social media outside the bedroom.

The mind associates these activities with being awake. Reserve the bedroom for two activities – sleep and sex.

If you find your mind chasing problems of the day or fears of tomorrow, get out of bed. Let your mind wander in another room until you are sleepy. They return to bed and sleep. If may take several attempts at this – but your mind and body will begin to associate sleep with quiet, peaceful thoughts and emotions.

Turn your alarm clock away from you. If you are a clock watcher move the clock away from arms reach so that you would have to get out of bed to get to it. Watching the clock deepens your fear of not getting enough sleep and contributes to more insomnia.

7. Make your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible.

We are human animals and we respond to the light and dark cycles of our universe. Light shining into the eye is a direct wake up call. Minimize light with darkened shades. Reduce blue light devices – yeah that means your cell phones and HEPA filters. Cover your eyes with an eye mask or use darkening shades with extenders to block the window light.

Does the list feel overwhelming? Try one change at a time and feel the difference from a healthier sleep routine

Pat Casello-Maddox
Health Right Copy