Do you have a hard time turning off the computer, TV, smartphone or tablet and getting to sleep? I’ll admit that sometimes it’s hard to end the day. There’s a lot of news information to read (which usually leads to worrying). There are so many games to play and shows to watch on TV. Then you realize it’s very late and you can’t get to sleep because your brain is still on.
Sleep is important. The day after a sleepless night will remind us how important sleep is for our well-being. According to Lawrence Epstein, M.D., chief medical officer of Sleep Health Centers at Harvard University, we should create the right associations to help us sleep. Here are a few tips to create the right sleep associations:
Realize that sleep is essential. If we’re pressed for time, sleep is usually the first thing sacrificed. Depriving ourselves of sleep can increase our risk of health problems such as anxiety, hypertension, stroke and diabetes.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time is the key to good sleep.
Create a pre-sleep routine. If you’re on the go right up to bedtime, it’s difficult to calm yourself and go to sleep. Reading a good book, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath can help you calm down.
Write it down if you worry. If you’re concerned or worried about something, write it down earlier in the day. Then if you think about it before bed, you can remind yourself that you’re already working on it.
Use your bed for sleep and intimacy. If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t read in your bed. Sit in a chair in your bedroom to keep the bed the place for sleep.
Create the right environment. Keep your room dark, quiet and at the right temperature to help you relax.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both can boost your anxiety levels and the effects can last four to seven hours.
The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep daily, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Are you getting enough sleep? Try these sleep associations to help you sleep better. Here’s to your good sleep.
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the April 27, 2017 edition of the Seaford Star.