Iowa Sleep Blog

Better Sleep Month 2016

Monday, May 02, 2016

May is the Better Sleep Council’s Better Sleep Month, which helps bring focus and attention to the important role sleeping well plays into leading healthy, productive lives. To celebrate sleeping well every night, we put together some of our favorite tips to sleeping well to kick off the month. The whole list is below, but follow along with us on Facebook and Twitter as we share one tip each day this month.

1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.

2. Keep your phone outside of the bedroom, or at least more than an arm’s length away, while you sleep.

3. Limit screen time from phones, tablets and computers at least one hour before bed.

4. Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. Instead, drink a soothing cup of tea before you turn in.

5. Avoid drinking alcohol within three to four hours of bedtime.

6. Get your body moving during the day, but avoid vigorous exercise within three hours of going to sleep.

7. Do light stretching or a yoga sequence before bed to help you relax and fall asleep easier.

8. Use a comfortable pillow that supports your neck.

9. Invest in a good mattress that matches your sleep position.

10. Make sure your room is dark and quiet, which creates the ideal environment for restful sleep.

11. Keep the temperature in your bedroom between 64-66 degrees while you sleep.

12. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, move out of the bedroom and do a relaxing activity such as reading.

13. Get exposure to sunlight in the morning to help your body wake up and reset your natural body clock.

14. Avoid heavy snacks before bed. Instead have something lighter (but still filling), such as oatmeal, almonds, bananas or    grapes.

15. Make sure your room isn’t cluttered – it can have a subconscious effect on your sleep!

16. If you have an energetic pet, avoid sharing the best with them at night. They’re likely to interrupt your sleep.

17. Stressed out? Try deep breathing before bed to help calm your body and mind for sleep.

18. Try using earplugs during the night to block out excess noise, like street noises or roommates.

19. Use your bedroom only for sleep. This will train your brain to associate the room with sleep, making it easier to fall asleep.

20. Each night, prepare everything you’ll need for the next day to avoid excess worrying during the night.

21. When your morning alarm goes off, don’t hit snooze! Instead, set the alarm for when you need to be up, and don’t just wake up…get up at that time.

22. Switch up your alarm sounds so you don’t get too used to the same one.

23. If you’re tired and it’s affecting your day, take a quick 20 minute nap. Any longer can result in a interrupting a REM cycle, making you feel more tired.

24. Use aromatherapy candles and scents in lavender or chamomile to help you relax before bed.

25. Relax in a warm bath or shower to loosen up your muscles and make it easier to fall asleep.

26. Use tranquil colors in your bedroom to promote peacefulness and restfulness.

27. Have lot on your mind? Try jotting down your thoughts or journaling before bed to clear your mind.

28. Wind down before bed by trying out progressive muscle relaxation.

29. Can’t fall asleep? Try wearing a cozy pair of socks to bed.

30. If you have a clock near your bed, cover the face or dim the backlight.

31. Need a little push to fall asleep? Try using a natural sleep aid such as melatonin or cherry juice.

32. (BONUS) Always make sleep a priority. It’s just as important to your health as eating right and exercising.

We hope these tips will help you sleep well not just tonight, but every night. Sleep is instrumental for leading healthy, dynamic lives. If you don’t think you’re sleeping well each night, check out some of the resources available on our website and the Better Sleep Council. If you’re looking for something more specific, feel free to reach out to our doctors by sending us your question with our easy online form.