5 ways to improve your sleep without medications
Improving your sleep hygiene can help you sleep longer and better. Here's how:
1. Go to bed only to sleep
o Don’t eat, watch TV, use your computer or play on your phone/tablet in bed
o Don’t lie awake in bed waiting to fall asleep- read, listen to music, and relax on your couch instead.
o Avoid turning on bright lights, or looking at screens of any kind
o Return to bed only when you are ready to doze off
2. Make your bedroom comfortable
o Keep temperatures between 60-75 F for better sleep
o Use blackout curtains or blinds to keep your bedroom dark, or use eye masks
o Make sure your bed and mattress are comfortable
o White noise is soothing and helpful for sleep, nature sounds, calming instrumental music, even dull mechanical sounds can work
o Don’t have a TV in your bedroom
3. Prepare for bedtime
Dos: Relax with a bath, a good book and some gentle music before bed.
Don’ts: Check work email, watch the news, have a difficult conversation or workout close to bedtime. Try to relax 1-2 hours before bedtime
4. Be active
o Moderate physical exercise improves sleep. Try to include some physical activity in your day
o Strenuous activity right before bed can increase stress hormone (cortisol) levels, which will get in the way of good sleep.
o Be mindful of the timing and amount of exercise
5. Have a consistent sleep schedule
Stick to a sleep schedule to regulate your Circadian rhythm.
o Wake up at the same time every morning
o Even if you go to bed late, don’t change your wake up time
o Avoid taking naps during the day
o Try to go to bed at the same time every night
o If that is hard to do, at most have a 2 hour window for your bedtime (say 9-11pm, 12-2 am)
Sleep well and be healthy,
Dr. Sayanti Bhattacharya MD, MS