May is Better Sleep Month, and if you visit SleepBetter.org frequently, you’ve likely seen a myriad of articles that tell you the consequences of sleeping poorly or not enough. Among other things, lack of sleep may make you gain weight, contract diseases or conditions, and reduce your ability to learn new facts.
So, what do you do about it?
As we say — sleep, exercise and diet are the cornerstones to good health. Of those three, sleep is usually the easiest to fix. Here are SleepBetter’s Five Simple Sleep Tips for Better Sleep Month:
1) Don’t eat too much or drink alcohol right before bed: Cutting out food (and, in particular, the wrong kind of food) or alcohol right before bed is pretty simple to do, and may pay big dividends under the sheets. A full belly keeps your body working when it should be sleeping. Alcohol, meanwhile, may help you fall asleep, but once its ingredients wear off it can leave you wide awake.
2) Create a bedtime routine: Parents have heard about the value of bedtime routines for children for years. Adults can benefit from this as well. In the last hour before you turn in for the night, why not turn off the TV and read a good book? A warm bath can also help relax you. If you do approximately the same thing every night, your body will start to know when it’s time for sleep.
3) Stick to your schedule: Sometimes it’s a little easier said than done, but going to bed at approximately the same time every night and waking at approximately the same time every morning (after getting the appropriate amount of sleep) will lead to a much more rested life.
4) Check your bedroom temperature: The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees. Any less than that, and you’ll be chilled while sleeping. Any more than that, and you’ll be hot.
5) Do a bedding check: This is likely the least “easy” of our five tips, as it may involve some expense. However, ensuring that your bedding is replaced regularly and is appropriate for your needs may be the best change you can make to help you sleep better. Be sure to change your pillow once every year. If your mattress is old and you can’t afford a new one, a high quality mattress topper can help extend its life.