How to Get Better Sleep
Posted on May 5, 2011 | 0 comments
Research has shown that not getting enough sleep can have a negative effect on your health. Lack of sleep may lead to weight gain over time, and it may be a factor in developing high blood pressure. Poor sleep can also impair thinking, reaction time and mood. Your individual sleep needs may vary, but most people require between seven and eight hours of sleep every night.
In this blog post, Kevin Gersten, M.D., Ph.D. , an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor and board-certified sleep medicine specialist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, shares some tips on getting the rest you need and developing good sleep habits.
Tips for Better Sleep
Establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning. Resist the urge to stay up late or sleep late on some days. If you can, avoid working night shifts and making changes to your work schedule.
Develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine. Take a warm bath, listen to calming music, read a book — anything that helps you unwind is a good sleep habit.
Observe some basic “don’ts.” Don’t take naps after 3 p.m., exercise within five or six hours of bedtime, eat large meals or drink a lot of liquids, or use nicotine or drink caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. Each of these may keep you from falling asleep or sleeping well.
Create a restful environment. Make your bed comfortable. Keep the temperature low in your bedroom at night. Block out disturbing lights, noises or other distractions.
If you can’t sleep, get up. Don’t lie in bed for more than 20 minutes trying to fall asleep. Instead, get up and do something relaxing. Once you feel as though you might be able to sleep, head back to bed.
More about sleep health:
About Sleep Disorders
Information at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Dr. Gersten’s podcast on sleep apnea
Sleep Medicine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation