Did you know that millions of people aren’t getting enough sleep or suffer from sleep problems? Research shows that all mammals need sleep, and that sleep regulates mood and is related to learning and memory functions. Not only will getting your rest help you perform on a test, learn a new skill, or help you stay on task, but it may also be a critical factor in your health, weight and energy level.
Are you someone who needs a fresh cup of coffee to coax you out of bed in the morning? Or perhaps you prefer an afternoon jolt from your favorite soda? Or maybe you’re more the candy bar type – in any case, you’re not alone. In a 24/7 culture, cups of coffee, cans of soda and candy bars are staples of everyday consumers. For some, the day can’t begin without a cup of Starbucks and for many students today no study break is complete without a can of Coke.
* Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime.
* Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.
* Food can be disruptive right before sleep; stay away from large meals close to bedtime.
* Ensure adequate exposure to natural light. This is particularly important for older people who may not venture outside as frequently as children and adults. Light exposure helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
* Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep. Don't dwell on, or bring your problems to bed.
* Associate your bed with sleep. It's not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or read.
* Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed should be comfortable, the room should not be too hot or cold, or too bright.