The amount and quality of sleep that we get on a regular basis might be more important than you realize. Getting plenty of sleep can strengthen your memory and help you maintain a healthy weight. Higher chances for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and heart attacks may all be a result of a lack of quality sleep. If you commonly have problems with getting a full night’s sleep, consider these tips to help improve your slumber.

Give yourself a sleep schedule. Going to sleep and waking up at the same times on a daily basis works wonders towards improving your sleep. To give yourself a better chance of maintaining the schedule, be sure to continue it on your days off from work. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule will help to keep you mentally and physically invigorated during your day. To this end, try to minimize napping during the day. Lengthy daytime naps can make it harder to get to sleep at night. If napping is a must, be sure to keep them no longer than 30 minutes in the middle of the afternoon.

Watch what you eat and drink at night. Try not to eat dinner too close to your bedtime. Rich and fatty foods cause the stomach to work harder to digest. Also, acidic foods can cause annoying heartburn. If you tend to get hungry later in the evening, consider a light snack such as a banana or a small bowl of cereal. To avoid unwanted bathroom interruptions, stay away from liquids as bedtime draws near. Cutting down on caffeine and smoking throughout the day can also improve your sleep. Because caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, they can make it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Develop a bedtime routine. Take some time every night to help your body wind down for the night. Depending on what you prefer, you could take a warm bath, listen to relaxing music or read a book. Whatever you choose, this routine should occur at the same time, and consist of the same activities, every night. Remember that comfort is key. Try to stay away from stimulating activities that are known to hinder sleep such as watching TV or using electronic devices.

Get regular exercise. Incorporating some physical activity into your day will also contribute to a more satisfying night’s sleep. In fact, even exercising for 20-30 minutes a day can help you fall asleep quicker and deeper.

Minimize stress. Often times, the inability to get to sleep and stay asleep occurs when our brains just refuse to stop. If your daytime hours are filled with stress and you have a lot on your mind, there are some simple steps you can take that might be helpful. If you feel that your life is too cluttered, attempt to reorganize and reset your priorities. If you have a lot on your plate, perhaps delegating some tasks can help. When possible, set some time aside during your day to take a break and release some of that stress.

The average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep. School-aged children and teenagers need around 10 hours of sleep. If you have persistent difficulty sleeping, contact your physician. Do you have tips that have helped you get a better night’s sleep? Please share in the comments below!

June 4, 2017
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