1. Use your bed for only sleeping and sex.
Do not work or study in bed. You start to connect your bed with stress, and that can in turn impact your ability to get to sleep.
2. Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
Using your iPad right before bed can cause you difficulties falling asleep. The light emitting from the device is the culprit—electronic devices that don't emit light, like the non-Fire Kindle do not affect the ability to sleep (Milian 2010).
Any electronic devices should be shut off at least 30 minutes before bed—even one hour before bed if possible. Give your brain time to unwind.
3. Keep the same bedtime/waketime.
Going to bed at 11pm during the week and then staying up until 2am on the weekends wreaks havoc on your body and mind. Try going to bed and getting up at consistent times.
4. Get regular exercise.
Exercising on a regular basis can help you get a better night's rest (Martin 2010). Exercise can also help combat depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety can also lead to insomnia. (See your doctor if you have symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, or if you are starting an exercise program for the first time.)
5. Have a sleep-conducive environment.
If you wake up in the middle of the night because you are too cold, either get another blanket for your bed or adjust the thermostat in your home. Keep your room dark. Light, whether it's natural or artificial, can cause you to have restless sleep. If your mattress is not comfortable, get a new one or put a cover over it with extra padding. Eliminate clutter in your bedroom. Papers and files should be kept in another room—not your bedroom. Any other "visual clutter" can also prevent you from getting a good night's rest.
6. Get checked for sleep apnea.
If you've had a history of non-restful sleep or if you have a history of snoring, talk to your doctor. A sleep study can tell you if you are experiencing sleep apnea—pauses in your breathing while you sleep. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to several health conditions, including obesity and high blood pressure. Luckily, it is easily treatable.
Copyright 2012 Sarkis Media LLC