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7 Easy Steps to Better Sleep

Updated on August 6, 2013

When was the last time you had a good night's sleep? A few simple lifestyle changes can help you get more rest. Here are seven easy steps to better sleep.

Are you ready for a good night's sleep?
Are you ready for a good night's sleep? | Source

How Do You Sleep?

When was the last time you had a good night's rest? Last night? Last year?

Many things can keep you awake at night: your kids, work deadlines, relationship problems, financial worries, social activities, body aches, environmental noise, too much caffeine, and more.

The National Sleep Foundation says the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Most people get much less than they need.

When distractions keep you awake, or you postpone sleep to keep up with a 24/7 world, you pay the price with your health, safety, and quality of life. Sleep deprivation increases your risk of car accidents, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, psychiatric conditions, learning disabilities, and memory problems.

To enjoy a longer and more restful sleep, the experts suggest a few simple sleep techniques. Here are seven easy steps to better sleep.

Go to bed at the same time each night.
Go to bed at the same time each night. | Source

1. Keep a Sleep Schedule

Keeping a sleep schedule is the first step to better sleep.

Go to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends and holidays. Wake up at the same time each morning, even if you want to sleep longer. Consistency reinforces your body's natural sleep-wake cycle so you can get a good night's rest.

The Mayo Clinic mentions one caveat to this tip. If you can't fall asleep within fifteen minutes of hitting the pillow, get out of bed and do something relaxing. Agonizing over your inability to sleep will make it harder to nod off.

Soothing Bedtime Ritual

Essence Of Vali Sleep - A Bedtime Ritual
Essence Of Vali Sleep - A Bedtime Ritual

Drift into a relaxing sleep with the soothing essense of lavendar and other plants.

 

2. Follow a Bedtime Routine

Bedtime rituals are another easy step to better sleep.

Do the same thing each night before bed to remind your body it's time to wind down. Relaxing activities are best. Take a warm bath, read a book, dim the lights, or listen to soft music to ease your transition into sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, people increase their risk for insomnia when they engage in stimulating activities before bed. These include watching television, surfing the Internet, and finishing household chores. Avoid these actions before bedtime for better sleep.

Avoid drinking coffee before bedtime.
Avoid drinking coffee before bedtime. | Source

3. Avoid Late Night Caffeine

Caffeine wreaks havoc with your sleep, and nicotine does the same. Their stimulating effects will keep you awake for hours.

To sleep better, avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol at night. While alcohol makes you drowsy at first, it will eventually disrupt your rest.

Avoid late night meals as well, but don't go to bed hungry. Hunger and discomfort will keep you awake.

And don't drink too many beverages before bedtime to avoid midnight trips to the bathroom.

Window Blackout Blind

4. Create a Sleep Haven

Create a haven for restful sleep.

Your bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet. Use dark window shades, table or ceiling fans, earplugs, sleep masks, and other devices to create a comfortable sleep environment.

Make sure your mattress and sleep pillows encourage rest, too. Good bedding is subjective, so choose what works for you. If you share your bed, make it comfortable for two people. Set time limits for pets and children who like to jump into your bed at night.

Daytime naps can interrupt nighttime sleep.
Daytime naps can interrupt nighttime sleep. | Source

5. Limit Daytime Naps

Short power naps during the day offer many health benefits, but long naps can interfere with your nighttime sleep.

If you must nap during the day, a mid-afternoon nap is your best option. Avoid sleeping during the day if you struggle with insomnia at night.

Of course, daytime sleep is an exception for people who work at night. If you work the graveyard shift, keep your bedroom dark. Sunlight, which adjusts your biological clock, will interrupt your sleep and keep you from getting some much-needed rest.

Help for Modern Day Stress

Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World
Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World

Book by Joseph Shrand and Leigh Devine / Format: Paperback edition.

 

6. Manage Your Stress

Stress management is an important step to better sleep. Too much to do, say, or think about can interfere with your sleep quality.

To restore peace and balance to your life, use healthy stress management techniques. Organize your day, set priorities, and delegate tasks. Love more, laugh more, and take a break when you need one.

Before you go to bed, write down your thoughts and set them aside for the morning.

Everyone will sleep better after exercise.
Everyone will sleep better after exercise. | Source

7. Get Regular Exercise

Too much exercise before bedtime can energize you too much for sleep. When done earlier in the day, however, it can greatly improve your sleep.

Regular physical activity will help you fall asleep faster, and you'll enjoy a deeper, sounder sleep. Make your workouts fun, and you'll stick to them.

Don't hesitate to get your family involved. A walk around the block is good exercise and a great way to spend time together. A bicycle ride is another good choice for family fun. Everyone will feel better and sleep better, too.

Sleep: Your Health Barometer

Sleep is a barometer of your overall health, says the National Sleep Foundation. By following these seven steps to better sleep, you can improve your physical health and mental well-being. You'll wake up feeling rested, refreshed and ready to start the day.

Analyze your sleep and improve it.
Analyze your sleep and improve it. | Source

Personal Sleep Manager

Zeo Personal Sleep Manager
Zeo Personal Sleep Manager

A personal sleep manager helps you anaylze your sleep and improve it. This product includes a wireless headband, bedside display, online analytical tools, and a personalized coaching program through email.

 

Reference Sources / Further Reading

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not intended as medical advice, nor is it a substitute for treatment or diagnosis by a qualified health care professional.

Take note: these seven tips will help you get a good night's sleep.
Take note: these seven tips will help you get a good night's sleep. | Source

Your Turn: Tell Us What You Think

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    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      You're welcome, Mark. Glad to help!

    • jericho911 profile image

      Kenneth Claude 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

      I definitely needed some tips ! thanks !

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Thank you, Nancy. I hope these tips help. I'm working off my own advice to get better sleep!

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 4 years ago from Southeast USA

      Great hub. I will be following your advice.

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hello, Cristina. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't slept well in a long time. Thank you for reading my article, and I hope these tips will help you get some much-needed rest!

    • Stina Caxe profile image

      Cristina 4 years ago from Virginia

      I don't think I have slept well in years. I will definitely be trying these tips!

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      You're welcome, Christy. Thank you for stopping by ... and for sharing this on Twitter, too!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I like your idea to keep a sleep schedule. Even on days off! Thanks for the information here.

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      It's good to hear from you, Mahmoud! Exercise during the day certainly makes a difference in my sleep at night, even if it's just a daily walk on the hiking trail near my apartment.

    • pharmacist2013 profile image

      pharmacist2013 5 years ago

      Hello, Annette! These tips are really great for a good sleep, especially regular exercising as most people neglect the relationship between exercising and sleeping well!

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hello, Hyphenbird. It's good to hear from you! I sleep much lighter now than when I was younger. Age and hormonal changes, maybe? I hope you can find something great that works for you, so you can sleep better through the night. Take care!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Thanks for the great sleep tips. I can fall asleep immediately but cannot stay asleep. It makes for a long night. It may be because I had to be alert because I had a small child in the house. Nights when I sleep for hours are rare and precious. The last year or so has been better but I still have a way to go.

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      @teaches12345: Sometimes, I use a mask and earplugs, too. A quiet, dark bedroom is my best environment for sleep. It's not always easy when you have noisy apartment neighbors! I appreciate your comment.

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Hello, Judith. Glad you stopped by! I'm watching my caffeine intake, and I hit the walking trail near my home when I can. It helps. Now, if I could just change from a night owl into a morning lark!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Great suggestions for helping others to get some much needed rest. I use a mask for the times when I need it completely dark. Light seems to bother me. Thanks for sharing.

    • jcevans2009 profile image

      Judith C Evans 5 years ago from Boise, ID

      Stress management and caffeine reduction definitely help me sleep. Your article is motivating me to get back to the gym, too. Great advice!

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      mmsu: I'm beginning to see the correlation between my daily routine and a good night's rest. Thank you for taking a moment to read my hub and leave a comment. I appreciate the vote up and shares!

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Your daily routine is one of the most important factors regarding the fact that how much sleep you get and whether you are able to sleep well or not.Enjoyed reading your hub.Voted up and shared!

    • Annette R. Smith profile image
      Author

      Annette R. Smith 5 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

      Thank you, Tammy. Caffeinated colas are the culprit for me. Many of us can use these tips for better sleep, I think. I'm glad you like the layout!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub. I drink so much coffee I have a hard time falling asleep. These are some very helpful hints and a great layout!