Sleep Easy: Tips for Better Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest doesn’t just help you feel ready to take on the day—it helps keep your mind and body healthy. According to the National Institutes of Health, good sleep helps decrease stress, boosts immunity, reduces the risk of depression and limits food cravings.

The CDC recommends seven or more hours of sleep each night for adults. More specifically, most adults need to have four or five cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) each night. REM cycles are periods of deep sleep when your brain processes memories, which is essential to learning and reasoning. Each REM cycle lasts about 90 minutes.

However, as we age, getting a good night’s rest becomes harder and harder due to insomnia, medication, pain and busy schedules. But making the right adjustments can help you get the sleep of your dreams. Try these tips to improve the quality of your sleep:

  • Keep it cool. Studies show that a cool room and minimal blankets can help put the body at ease for better sleep.
  • Avoid distractions. For some, the bedroom is also a place for reading, watching TV or using cell phones. Experts recommend making sleep the main purpose of your bedroom. Associating your bedroom with sleep and sticking to a regular bedtime routine will help condition your body and make it easier to fall asleep.
  • Put down your phone. Blue light from cell phones and tablets can keep your mind awake and make it harder to fall asleep at night. Try putting the phone down at least an hour before bed.
  • Block out the outside world. Sound machines or fans are a great way to tune out loud noises at night. Blackout curtains can also help block lights—helping you fall and stay asleep.
  • Skip the extra drink. Whether it’s coffee or soda, avoid drinking too much caffeine, especially late in the day. Similarly, having too much alcohol can also disrupt sleep patterns, particularly if you drink right before bed.
  • Check your medications. If you take any long-term medications, ask your doctor if they might interfere with your sleep. Your doctor may also be able to recommend other medications or supplements (like melatonin) to help you sleep better.

For more information about getting a good night’s rest, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website.

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