Eight Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important to overall health.
Studies have consistently shown a link between lack of sleep and serious health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
Healthy sleep habits can also make a huge difference in your quality of life.
When you sleep, your body is working to maintain your physical health and support healthy brain function.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends seven or more hours of sleep a night for healthy adults. Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make getting those hours of sleep a priority.
Here are eight tips that I give patients to help them establish healthy sleeping habits:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Establish an early enough bed time. Make sure that your bed time is early enough for you to get at least seven hours of sleep. If you need to be up at 6 AM, make sure you’re in bed by no later than 11 PM.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be cool and quiet. If you can’t eliminate all noises, consider ear plugs or a white noise machine.
- Limit your exposure to light in the evening. Shut down your computer and turn off electronic devices. These devices emit a light that signals your brain to stay awake.
- Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. You should eat dinner at least two to three hours before bed. If you are hungry at night, eat a light healthy snack.
- Don’t consume caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. Caffeine can hang around in your body for five to six hours.
- Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but it will cause fragmented sleep later in the night.
- Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime. You don't want to be waking up for frequent trips to the restroom!
If you’ve tried these strategies and are still having trouble with falling or staying asleep, you may be a candidate for a sleep study.
South Shore Hospital is an accredited Sleep Center by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Our Sleep Medicine Program offers diagnostic testing through our Sleep Center to evaluate patients with sleep disorders.