Tips for a Better Nights Sleep | Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System
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Tips for a Better Nights Sleep

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By Mohammed Al-Halawani, MD

A third of US adults report that they get less than the recommended amount of 7 or more hours of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep is not a luxury, it is something people need for good health. Sleep-related difficulties affect many people, however, these disorders can be diagnosed and treated, bringing relief to those who suffer from them.​ Below you will find 17 tips for a better nights sleep.

  1. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleeping for less than 5 hours or more than 9 hours may have negative effects on your health. 
  2. Limit your exposure to bright light before bedtime, as it may affect your ability to fall asleep. This includes TV, computer screens, tablets, and smartphones! 
  3. If you can't sleep, avoid checking the time while in bed. Turn the clock away from you!
  4. Do not take problems to bed, as it may interfere with sleep. Making a "worry-list" before bedtime can help avoid that!
  5. Avoid excessive napping. If you need to stay alert, a 20-30 minute power nap in the early afternoon (before 5 pm) is acceptable.
  6. Avoid falling asleep early in the evening by getting up and being active if sleepy.                                                                                   
  7. Take a hot bath an hour or two before bedtime; it may help you get a deeper and more restful sleep.
  8. Avoid smoking late in the evening. Nicotine causes sleep disturbances and may worsen symptoms of sleep breathing disorders (Snoring, breathing pauses).
  9. Drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages at night causes poor sleep quality and multiple night time awakenings!
  10. If you can't fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing such as reading in dim light. Lying in bed and getting anxious about going to sleep will only make things worse.
  11. Have a relaxing bedtime routine that helps you relax and reduce stress; and go to bed only when you're sleepy. 
  12. Get regular exercise helps you fall asleep quicker and get deeper sleep. Heavy exercise should be avoided 2 hours before bedtime.
  13. Use a sound machine "white noise" to help you block out sounds that you find disturbing while trying to fall asleep.
  14. Use the bedroom for sleep and intimacy only. You don't want your brain to associate the bedroom with work or exercise.
  15. Keep the room temperature more on the cooler side. Excessively warm rooms may disturb sleep.
  16. Try to wake up at the same time every morning, including weekends.  This helps you set your biological clock.
  17. Consult with your doctor or sleep specialist if you’re not getting a good night sleep.