Sleep isn’t something you notice until you haven’t gotten enough of it. Take the time to practice good sleep habits for a better waking performance, mind and body. 1. Reduce the intensity of your evening activities. In the two hours (ideally) preceding bedtime, it’s time to put aside tasks that stress you out. Exercise, while promoting sleep when practiced regularly, can often interfere with sleep if performed too late in the day. Try to work out as soon as you get home from work and follow it up with a meal. For many people, scheduling exercise and dinner three or more hours from bedtime works best.
2. Create Bedtime Rituals. Calming behaviors can also help you unwind by providing psychological cues for sleep. Take a shower or bath, brush your teeth, read a book, listen to music or meditate.
3. Create an ideal sleep environment. Get curtains that totally shut out light. Close the windows for silence. Adjust the temperature so that it’s cool and comfortable. Prepare extra blankets. Find a reliable alarm clock, you don’t need the paranoia that you won’t get up.
4. Get on a Sleep Schedule. The more regular your rhythm, the easier it will be to drop off to sleep, and to sleep soundly for a full, deep eight-plus hours. If a dinner, movie, party, travel, kids or anything else keeps you up late one evening, compensate the next day or two by turning in earlier, or sleeping later, or both. And certainly when traveling give yourself time to acclimate, if you need to be your most alert, best self, take an extra day or two whenever possible.
5. Reduce sleep interruption substances. Try not to take sleep aids unless proscribed by your doctor. Try natural relaxation methods and avoid popping over-the-counter medication that you may not need. Taper off caffeine intake, especially after 3pm. And reduce alcohol consumption before bed. These substances interrupt your natural sleep cycle. Especially avoid them if you are trying to catch up on sleep.