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First you try opening the window. Then you get up and shut it. Next, you try fluffing your pillow. You can't stop thinking about work and all the things you have to get done tomorrow. You fluff the pillow again. You roll onto your back, and then onto your stomach, and then return to your back. Fluff the pillow one more time. Your realize that it doesn't look like you're going to be getting much sleep tonight.

Why We Need Sleep

Sleep lets the body repair and renew itself. The brain, cardiovascular system, immune system, and other important parts of the body need sleep to work as they should.

People who do not get enough sleep may have:

  • More stress
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Poor motivation
  • Problems with decision making and doing tasks

Ten Tips for Better Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep can be hard. Here are some tips to try:

  1. Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. Wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
  2. Create a sleep ritual. Do the same things each night before bed, such as taking a hot bath, having a cup of herbal tea, or reading a book. This cues your body to settle down for the night.
  3. Exercise regularly. This can help to ease tension and help you feel tired. Be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime or you may have a hard time falling asleep.
  4. Cut down on stimulants. Stimulants like caffeine cause problems with falling asleep. They also prevent deep sleep. Have a cup of herbal tea before bed instead.
  5. Don't smoke. Smokers take longer to fall asleep, wake up more often, and have interrupted sleep.
  6. Drink alcohol in moderation. You may fall asleep faster but drinking alcohol before bed will interrupt your sleep. It also leads to poor quality sleep.
  7. Unwind early in the evening. Deal with any worries a few hours before you go to bed. Make a list of things you need to do tomorrow. This will prevent you from thinking about them all night. Try relaxation exercises like slow breathing when you are in bed.
  8. Sleep on a comfortable bed. It's hard to get deep, restful sleep on a bed that's too small, soft, or hard.
  9. Create a restful sleep space. A dark, quiet room is best for sleeping. Sudden, loud noises or bright lights can wake you up. A room that is too hot or too cold can do that as well.
  10. Make sleep a priority. Say "yes" to sleep even when you want to stay up late. You'll be better able to take on the day ahead.

You should also limit the number of activities you do in bed. Your bed should not be a place to watch TV, eat food, or do work. It should be a place for sleep and sex. Hopefully, by following these tips you will be on your way to better sleep.

RESOURCES:

The Better Sleep Council
http://www.bettersleep.org

National Sleep Foundation
http://www.sleepfoundation.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Better Sleep Council Canada
http://www.bettersleep.ca

Canadian Sleep Society
http://www.canadiansleepsociety.ca

REFERENCES:

Healthy sleep tips. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips. Accessed October 21, 2021.

Sleep health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/sleep-health. Accessed October 21, 2021.

Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board  Last Updated: 10/21/2021