Tips for Sleeping Healthy

If you’re feeling the strain of a bad sleeping schedule there are a couple of things you can do to get yourself back on the right track.

Many of us have varying sleep schedules. If you work third shift you probably go to sleep when most people are just getting to work. That can make it challenging to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, especially if you have kids.

The part of the brain responsible for sleeping regularly, or as some say, the internal clock, is the hypothalamus. Our sleep schedule is kept on track by our circadian rhythms, which is regulated biologically by hormones, sleep cycle, body temperature and also light and darkness. These can make or break our sleep schedule, so with that in mind here are some helpful tips for sleeping better:

Adjust your bedtime. Adults need about eight hours of sleep. That means if you’re not waking up until 8 a.m., then it is perfectly acceptable to stay up until midnight; however, if your job demands your arrival at 6 a.m. (and you wake up at 5), then you will probably need to be in bed by 9 o’ clock.

Avoid night light. Exposure to bright, evening light shifts your body clock to a later schedule. When possible, avoid bright and outdoor light close to bedtime and keep your light levels low and dim at night.

Do not nap. No matter how appealing it sounds after a long day at work, naps can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.

Avoid eating or exercising close to bedtime. While exercising is actually recommended for helping you get to sleep, doing it too close to bedtime isn’t good. It gets your blood flowing, which can cause trouble getting to sleep. Also watch out for caffeine and nicotine, and believe it or not, apples, which have stimulating chemicals that can inhibit sleep.

Wind down. Create a relaxing bedtime routine with some hot tea, a good book, some relaxing music, or try them all together. Lavender is a good scent or tea flavor for bedtime relaxation, and you can also try a warm bath or hot shower. Hot showers make for a good relaxation technique because as your body cools it will relax and fall asleep easier.  Make sure your bed jives with your comfort level and that there is little to no light.

Also, if your sleep patterns are interfering with work or your everyday life you may want to consult a doctor for sleep therapy.