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Monthly Motivation: Saving Your Sleep Cycle

Last week was National Sleep Week, and daylight saving time started early Sunday morning. Even though it was a few days ago, many people are still feeling the effects. The biggest part of adjusting to the time change is keeping your sleep routine regulated. To help you get a good night’s sleep, the National Sleep Foundation has ten tips for better “sleep hygiene”:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. Separate sleep from wakeful and exciting activities by engaging in some quiet time before bed.
  3. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Many people love naps or rely on “power naps,” but they may disrupt your sleep in the long run.
  4. Exercise daily. Even light activity can be helpful, so fit in exercise whenever you can — but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your sleep environment. Check that your room is the right temperature and has good noise and light levels for sleeping.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. The average good-quality mattress only lasts nine or ten years, so make sure your bed is still supportive and inviting.
  7. Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms. Sunlight or other bright light can help wake you up in the morning, while keeping things dark can help you fall asleep at night.
  8. Avoid heavy meals and other sleep-disrupting substances in the evening. Things like caffeine and indigestion can make it hard to fall asleep, even when you feel tired.
  9. Wind down for an hour before bed. Participate in a calming activity, like reading, for an hour before you need to sleep. It helps you shift into “sleep mode.”
  10. Do something relaxing if you are having trouble falling asleep. Make sure your bed is associated with sleep, not work or TV or the computer. If you have to work on something, keep yourself relaxed, and do it in another room.

The National Sleep Foundation also has tips for learning to relax:

Find out more about these tips, healthy sleep, and different sleep strategies on the National Sleep Foundation website.