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How to Sleep Better

WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT?

Sleep is important for a number of reasons. It restores our energy, increases immunity, helps us think more clearly and creatively, strengthens memory and allows us to learn more effectively, and produces a more positive mood and better performance throughout the day.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO I NEED?
Most adults need between 6 and 10 hours of sleep per night. If you are frequently tired or irritable during the day and find yourself sleeping more than an extra 2 hours per night on weekends, then you are probably not getting enough sleep during the week.

Below are some tips to help you get better sleep:

GO TO BED ONLY WHEN YOU ARE SLEEPY

  • Get out of bed and do something relaxing if you don't fall asleep within half an hour.

MAINTAIN A REGULAR SCHEDULE

  • Have a regular time for eating meals, work, and homework.

  • Exercise regularly.  But be mindful of exercising close to bed time because it can negatively affect sleep in some people.

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday, even on weekends.  

  • Avoid pulling “all-nighters” before exams. Studies show they don't improve academic outcomes.

ESTABLISH RELAXING PRE-SLEEP RITUALS

  • Examples are a warm bath, herbal tea, hot milk, stretching, meditation, satisfying sex, or 10 minutes of good reading.

  • Don’t eat or drink anything containing caffeine or alcohol within several hours of bedtime.

  • Avoid illegal drugs and cigarettes.  These substances disrupt sleep patterns.

ASSOCIATE YOUR BEDROOM ONLY WITH SLEEPING

  • Don’t watch T.V., text, use the computer, play video games, or use any other screen in bed.

  • Eliminate loud noises and distractions.

  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.

  • MAKE SURE YOUR BED IS COMFORTABLE AND WASH THE SHEETS AND BEDDING REGULARLY.

START A SLEEP JOURNAL!!!

If you continue to have trouble sleeping, write down everything that happens to you daily concerning sleep.  Remember to include the food you eat, when you eat it, the exercise you do, exercise you don’t do, how long you sleep, how comfortably you slept, and most importantly…how you feel as a result of each activity.
Repetitive pain, difficulty breathing, depression, loud snoring, anxiety, or sweating means you should consider seeing a doctor.

WHAT ABOUT NAPPING?

Napping is not a replacement for sleep, but can be useful for improving mood and increasing mental performance and alertness.

  • The optimal length of time for a nap is 10-30 minutes. Anything longer can leave you feeling groggy.

  • Napping can help produce short-term alertness for driving or studying.

  • Create a comfortable environment for a nap. Lie down completely and avoid noisy areas.

  • Napping too late in the day can interfere with nighttime sleep.

HELPFUL WEB SITES:

National Sleep Foundation
www.sleepfoundation.org

U.S. National Library of Medicine
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sleepdisorders.html