Thrive by IU Health

February 21, 2024

Restless to Restful: Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Restless to Restful: Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep allows us to reset from the day before and prepares our brains and bodies for a new day. When you find yourself tossing and turning, it’s time to take a look at the habits and behaviors that could be keeping you up at night.

The choices you make throughout the day can significantly impact your quality of sleep. Making small changes to your routine can get you back on track to the 7-9 hours of sleep needed to wake up feeling energized and refreshed.

So, what can you do to control your ability to fall and stay asleep?

Exercise during the day

Restorative sleep relates to your activity levels throughout the day. The more exercise you get in, the deeper you will sleep. But even starting with small victories, like going on a 15-minute walk, can improve sleep quality.

Establish a consistent routine

Our bodies operate much better when they are used to a routine. To set your internal clock, pick realistic sleep-wake goals and stick with them – that means on weekends too!

Reduce screen time

The light and stimulation from bright screens can keep you up well after you’ve powered them down for the night. Avoiding screen time one to two hours before bed can help your brain know it’s time to sleep.

Limit the consumption of alcohol and nicotine

Smoking and drinking have both been shown to disrupt your sleep cycle. If you do either of these, try to avoid or limit them, especially within five hours before bed. These lifestyle changes may be challenging, but in the long run, will be worth it.

Leave your worries on paper

If you struggle to fall asleep because your mind is racing, you may find comfort in reminding yourself that you can only control your actions. Thinking about stressors before bed will not change them and may even worsen your worries.

Try journaling and putting your thoughts onto paper before bed. Remember that sleep is good for you. When you go to sleep you aren’t pushing off tasks or avoiding them, but rather investing in yourself and your health!

Don’t count sheep

If you have been lying awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and do a non-stimulating activity, like reading or stretching.

If you are still unable to get restful sleep after trying these suggestions, you may need professional help. To learn if you are at risk for sleep apnea, take a quick, free assessment to determine if you would benefit from receiving treatment from our highly skilled IU Health Sleep Medicine team. Our providers can help you determine if you have a sleep disorder or a belief about sleep that prevents you from getting good sleep.

Are you at risk?

1 in 15 Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Take a quick quiz to determine if you would benefit from receiving treatment from our highly skilled sleep medicine team.

Take our free sleep apnea quiz
Are you at risk?

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