One of the pillars of wellness is a proper night’s sleep. Here are tips on practicing good ‘sleep hygiene’ — at home and on site — from the National Sleep Foundation.
› Avoid napping during the day. It can disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
› Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it disrupts sleep in the second half of the night as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing arousal.
› 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. Also, dietary changes can cause sleep problems. If someone is struggling with a sleep problem, it’s not a good time to start experimenting with spicy dishes. And remember, chocolate has caffeine.
› 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.