We don't think much about sleep—unless we're not getting enough of it. But with all of today's pressures from work and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, quality sleep can be elusive. While we can't control everything that interferes with sleep, there are methods for improving your chances of a good night's rest.
Don't oversleep to make up for a poor night's sleep.
Sleeping in for just a couple of days can reset your body clock.
Keep to a schedule.
You get hungry at predictable times of the day because of years of repetition. The same is true of sleep. Try to retire about the same time every night. Create a routine for telling your body it's time to wind down. Read a book, or listen to music with the lights dimmed. Take a warm bath, although be careful with showers as they tend to wake you up.
Do not nap the day after you've lost sleep. When you feel sleepy, get up and do something. Walk, attend to something or do errands. Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you simply must nap during the day, limit it to 10 to 30 minutes during the mid-afternoon hours.
Regular physical activity promotes better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Even a simple stretching routine can help. Take care not to exercise too close to bedtime or you might be too energized to fall asleep.
Avoid drinking alcohol.
Alcohol might help you get to sleep, but it results in disturbed sleep and frequent early morning awakening.
Keep the room cool.
Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room—around 65 degrees. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep. And be sure the room is well ventilated.
Clear the bed.
Studies have shown about half of all dog owners sleep with their dogs and even more cat owners sleep with their cats. That could aggravate allergies and disturb sleep. Of course, some pet owners say the security of having their pets sleep with them helps them sleep more soundly.
If problems persist, you might have a sleep disorder. A sleep study, ordered by your physician, can help determine your condition. For more information, contact the Sleep Center at St. Joseph at 816-943-3033, or the Sleep Center at St. Mary's at 816-655-5394.