Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 29-08-2014
Part of what makes the late summer so enjoyable is the opportunity we get to enjoy a slightly more relaxed work schedule, a few extra late nights at home or with friends and maybe even an out of town or extended cottage vacation. Unfortunately, when it comes time to make the annual Fall “back-to-school/back-to-work” transition, many find that returning to a more hectic and faster paced lifestyle, along with the return of cooler weather and daylight savings time, wreaks havoc on their ability to get a good night’s sleep. If you've been struggling with getting enough sleep lately, here are some tips to help get through the transition and get back on track. ESTABLISH A SLEEP SCHEDULE: Having a regular sleep schedule is important. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning - even on weekends. It will make it much easier for you to fall asleep at night and stay asleep throughout the night. FOCUS ON HEALTHIER FOODS: A healthy diet can keep you from getting fatigued and reduce the need for a nap during the day. This, of course, makes it easier to stick to a consistent sleep schedule at night. Avoid simple sugars and starchy food items as these can lead to short-term energy boosts that are followed by crashes. Stick to lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. ESTABLISH A REGULAR EXERCISE ROUTINE: Exercising during the day can make it easier for you to sleep at night. Not only does it help your body breathe and function better, it can also help relieve some of the aches and pains that make it difficult to sleep. MAKE SURE YOUR BED/BEDDING IS COMFORTABLE: Your bed, pillow and bedding should be comfortable and supportive. While this might sound like an obvious statement, the fact is that most of us tend to keep our beds and bedding far beyond their useful life. A comfortable and supportive bed help to make it much easier to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. RELAX YOUR MIND & BODY BEFORE BED: Create a routine before bed that allows you to relax; be it a soothing bath, listen to relaxing music or reading a calming book. This will tell your mind that it’s time for bed, which will make falling asleep easier and allow you to have a better sleep. AVOID CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL OR TOBACCO BEFORE BED: These items can make it more difficult for you to enjoy a sound/restful sleep. You should also avoid eating anything about two-to-three hours before you go to sleep as it’s more difficult to sleep if your body is busy digesting. USE YOUR BED FOR SLEEPING ONLY: Your bedroom/bed should be a place associated with sleeping and only sleeping (okay, sex too, but not working, playing games or communicating through social media). Your bedroom should be a quiet, restful, place free of distractions. Televisions, laptops, tablets, cell phones and other distractions can keep you awake and prevent you from enjoying a sound sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is a key component to getting and staying healthier; it’s also critical for handling the challenges associated with our hectic fall schedules. If you’ve been struggling with getting a good night’s sleep, these tips and techniques should be just what you need to help you get back on track!