Sleep

The way you feel while you’re awake says a lot about how well you sleep. If you’re looking for better sleep, it can often be as simple as changing your daily routine. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices can make a big difference to how well you sleep at night.

Keeping a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, will help you feel much more rested and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times—even if the difference is only by an hour or two. Consistency with sleep is vitally important. Choose a time to go to bed when you normally feel tired (and don’t change this on weekends); and if you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need a nap during the day, limit it to 30 minutes so that you don’t have insomnia at night.

Make a consistent effort to unwind before bed to help you sleep easier and deeper. A calming bedtime routine will send a powerful signal to your brain that it is time to wind down and forget about the stress of the day. To make your room more “sleep friendly”, eliminate as much sound as possible. If there are barking dogs, loud neighbors or other loud sounds, try masking them with a fan or other white noise. Keep your room cool, around 65 degrees, with adequate ventilation. And make sure your bed is comfortable. You should have enough room to move around and stretch comfortably. Finally, reserve your bed for sleep and sex. If you associate your bed with work and other tasks, it will be harder to wind down at night. So only use your bed for sleep and sex so that your body will get the cue that it’s either time to sleep or be intimate.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet play a role in how well you sleep. Stay away from big meals and alcohol at night and cut down on caffeine. Exercising as little as 20-30 minutes each day can help you sleep more deeply. Even relaxing exercise, like yoga or gentle stretching, can help.