So what’s the secret to a good night’s sleep? It’s really not so difficult to achieve, as long as you pay attention to a few sleep guidelines:
Establish a routine. Always try to go to bed the same time each night and wake up the same time each day. Your body will establish its own natural rhythm in a short period of time, and maintaining this routine will make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. And here’s an important thing to remember: if you’re getting enough sleep, you’ll be able to wake up without an alarm clock! If you’re not getting enough sleep, slowly adjust the time you go to bed over a period of several days in order to give yourself a little more sack time.
Exercise during the day. Aside from all the health benefits you get from exercise, not mention looking buff, it will also help you to sleep.
Don’t eat within four hours of bedtime. Give yourself time to digest your meal. And try to avoid spicy foods at dinnertime since they can lead to heartburn and indigestion, both of which can interrupt sleep.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine probably goes without saying, since that can obviously keep you alert and make it hard to get to sleep. But alcohol also interrupts your sleep patterns. It may seem like that nightcap helps you to fall asleep, but the quality of your sleep will suffer if you drink before going to bed.
Relax before trying to go to sleep. Although strenuous exercise isn’t recommended right before bedtime, try a little gentle stretching to calm down and relax before trying to go to sleep.
Turn off the TV and the computer. Not only do the computer and the TV stimulate the mind, but they actually reduce the amount of melatonin the body produces, and melatonin is the hormone that helps you to sleep.
Keep the room dark. You may be tempted to leave a light on in case you have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, but even a small nightlight can affect your quality of sleep. Use a flashlight if you have to get up in the middle of the night. When it comes to sleeping, the darker the room, the better.
Getting a good night’s sleep is the foundation for everything else you do to keep yourself healthy and in shape. Fortunately, a few simple steps make this one health and beauty aid we can all afford.
Roxanne Jones is a blogger for Jose Luis Salon, located in Austin, Texas.