Healthy Sleep Tips

Being thrown off your sleep schedule for even a day or two can have negative effects on your health.  It’s important to adopt and implement sleep habits that promote good health.

That’s why we have put together a list of some of our favourite and most effective healthy sleep habits that can be part of your regular routine.

Why healthy sleep habits matter

Getting good sleep is essential to maintaining good health throughout your life. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, ‘Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety.’  

It may seem that not getting enough sleep only affects you physically but it doesn’t. Your mental health also suffers if you’re consistently sleep deprived.

Watch the video on 5 Tips to Sleep Better by Watchwellcast

Healthy sleep tips

If you have trouble falling and staying asleep at night, don’t worry.

Below, we’ve listed some of our favourite and most helpful habits that will help you consistently get a great night’s rest:

  • Stick to one sleep schedule. This may be one of the more important tips on this list. Why? Because sticking to a regular sleep schedule – going to bed and waking up at the same time – helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Your biological clock will stay in rhythm, which will help you stay asleep through the night
  • Cut caffeine after 2 pm It may sound like 2 pm is a little early to put the coffee pot down, but it’s not. Caffeine has a half-life of between 5 to 8 hours, depending on your body type and overall health. Even though its strength is reduced, it’s still a stimulant and could cause issues when you’re trying to call it a night
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep
  • Wind down before your bedtime. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. Using an electronic device such as a laptop or mobile phone may make it hard to fall asleep because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night
  • Treat yourself to a better-than-average mattress. If you don’t already have one, spend the money and get yourself a quality, comfortable and supportive mattress. Most mattresses have a life expectancy of around 9 or 10 years, so take note of yours and make the change if need be
  • Cut out daytime naps. According to the Mayo Clinic, ‘Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.’
  • Keep a regular, daily exercise routine. Exercising and staying active during the day promotes better sleep. Just be sure not to overdo it so as not to exacerbate your sleep symptoms. Talk with your doctor to figure out an appropriate exercise regimen
  • Stay away from heavy meals and alcohol in the late evening. Although a conservative amount of alcohol may help you initially fall asleep, it can also keep you from entering sleep’s deepest stages. Big meals, especially if they are spicy, can cause indigestion, which can make sleep uncomfortable.
  • Keep a sleep diary so that you can share with your therapist to help evaluate where you can improve your sleep quality

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