A woman sits in her pajamas in a dark room while drinking out of a mug

A to Zzz: A Healthy Pre-Sleep Routine


Getting adequate sleep each night is essential to your health. Not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your body and mind, leaving you exhausted, irritable, and unable to focus throughout the day. 

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

On average, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause problems when you’re awake and even impact how much you eat, since your hormones are regulated during sleep. To ensure you’re getting enough rest each night, consider starting a pre-sleep routine to form healthy resting habits.

Prep for a Good Snooze

1. Put down the phone

Your bedroom should be a screen and stimulation-free zone. Switch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode to prevent loud notifications without affecting your phone’s alarm clock. Charge it in another room if needed, and turn off all TVs and tablets. Pick up a good book to read instead to relax your mind prior to falling asleep.

2. Avoid caffeine

Drinking caffeine any time of day can affect your sleep cycle. While giving up your morning coffee can be a challenge, swap out afternoon and evening caffeinated beverages for caffeine-free drinks, like water. 

3. Take a shower an hour before bedtime

Relax your muscles and mind with a warm shower as you get ready for bed. The warm water soothes your body and can help induce sleep afterwards. Showering an hour before getting into bed allows your body enough time to cool down.

4. Set the mood

Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and comfortable. Shut off the lights and consider using room-darkening shades. To keep the room cool, switch on a fan or set the thermostat to an optimal temperature.

5. Relax and unwind

Practice deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to ease tension from the day. If your  mind is racing with worries, grab a journal and jot down all the thoughts that are stressing you. Studies show that writing down your worries can help clear your mind and reduce anxiety.

There are many factors that can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep, including work or family stress, illnesses, and sleep disorders. If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, reach out to a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Groupprimary care doctor for a referral to receive sleep medicine services at a St. Luke’s Health location.

 

Sources:

Sleep and the Aging Brain

Overview of Sleep Disorders

Sleep: The Great Motivator

Your Cell Phone: The Good, the Bad, the Overly Connected?

More Teens Skimping on Sleep

Sugary, Caffeinated Drinks Could Cost You Sleep

Health Tip: Avoid These 5 Pre-Bedtime Don'ts

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