Blog Post: February 22nd, 2021
Emelia Johnson, Athletic Trainer, Certified (LAT/ATC)
We all know we need to get sleep, but a question we often ask ourselves is “How do I get good sleep?” According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are 10 simple tips to improving your sleep so you can get on the right track to that quality sleep we all need.
- Set a sleep routine. This doesn’t simply mean going to bed at the same time every night and waking up the same time each morning, but also includes preparing to go to bed in a similar manner each day. Keeping the same routine can help your body and mind realize when it is time to go to bed and that it should start to relax and prepare for sleep.
- Stay active during the day. Getting enough exercise and activity throughout the day can help your body unwind and relax faster that night, which means falling asleep quicker! However, try not to exercise 3 or less hours prior to falling asleep, as this can have adverse effects that actually “wake up” your brain.
- Watch your caffeine intake! Avoid having that afternoon coffee if at all possible, as this can inhibit you falling asleep later that night. People who routinely have caffeine in the afternoon need to be cautious, because they may end up with with long-term sleep deprivation.
- Sleep in a cool and quiet environment. The suggested optimal sleep temperature is between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is just a suggestion. If you sleep best in 70 degrees Fahrenheit, then set the thermostat there.
- Sleep in a dark room. In fact, the darker the better. Light impedes your body’s ability to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone produced by your brain, thus making it harder and take longer to fall asleep. In contrast, having it dark aids in melatonin production. Turn off all the lights, get some thick curtains, and even consider a sleep mask.
- Be calm. Calming your mind before sleep is important in achieving restful, deep sleep. Trying to fall asleep when you are wound up or stressed can lead to increased time before falling asleep, followed by a restless night. Practice dimming the lights and reading, listening to soothing music, or meditating 30 minutes prior to sleep to help unwind and calm your mind.
- Remove distractions. If you’re someone who watches the clock at night, try turning it off or putting it somewhere you won’t be tempted to look at it, because it can increase stress of not falling asleep in an adequate time. Turn your phone off or on ‘do not disturb,’ and put it somewhere you won’t be tempted to grab it. Turn off all electronics 30 minutes prior to sleep and begin your relaxation period.
- Reserve your bed for sleeping only. It’s tempting to sit in bed and complete our activities there, but this confuses your brain’s association with sleep and your bed. It will begin to associate your bed with another place in which it should be awake rather than asleep.
- Tune it out. If you sleep in a louder environment such as a city or apartment complex, you may find the noise keeping you awake at night. It might be helpful to get a white noise machine to help drown out some of the distractions without disturbing you further. Another solution would be to wear soft ear plugs to help block out the noise.
- Wake up to natural light. Our circadian rhythm is greatly affected by light exposure and waking naturally to sunlight can help normalize that pattern. So, if at all possible, waking to the sunlight is one of the best ways to help set a natural sleep schedule.
Hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful and will implement a few of them into your daily and nighttime routines to help you get good, quality sleep. If you are still having trouble sleeping, seek out your doctor as you may have an underlying condition keeping you from getting the sleep you need.
If you need help getting and staying active, we can help you with that. If you aren’t as mobile as you’d like to be, we can help you overcome those obstacles that are preventing you. We can also help anyone, whether they are very mobile or limited in mobility, to create an appropriate exercise program catered to their needs/wants. To do so, simply visit our locations page, choose a clinic to be seen at, and give us a call!