Trouble sleeping? Adopt these habits
Robert Gobble

CAMP CASEY -- Many people tell me that they struggle with obtaining good sleep on a nightly basis.

These individuals frequently add that they used to sleep much more soundly but now at an older age, they struggle to fall asleep and stay sleeping.

No question that good sleep patterns make you less anxious and irritated and enable you to get through the day with more energy. You simply feel better with a good night's sleep.

The acclaimed Mayo Clinic has some good sleep tips that I would like to share with you. It is very possible to adopt habits that encourage better sleep.

No. 1: Try to stick to a sleep schedule: Make every effort to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Now that is not easy to do, especially on weekends and vacations when you finally have a chance to sleep in a little. Keep this in mind though. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night.

No. 2: Pay attention to what you eat and drink: Don't go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet. Beware of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol which can disrupt sleep patterns throughout the night.

No. 3: Try to create a bedtime ritual: Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down; i.e., taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Interestingly enough, some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep (all the bad news!).

No. 4: Get comfortable: Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. If you have children or pets, set limits on how often they sleep with you -- or insist on separate sleeping quarters.

No. 5: Limit daytime naps: Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep -- especially if you're struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the mid-afternoon.

No. 6: Always include physical activity in your daily routine: All research shows that regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.

No. 7: Manage stress: Consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Before bed, jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

No. 8: Know when to contact your doctor: Most public health studies show that nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night -- but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor.

Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

Page last updated Fri March 28th, 2014 at 04:14