Tips for a Better Night's Sleep

by Mike Bracko, EdD on Dec 09, 2013

Sleep is a crucial component for health, performance and daily living. During sleep our bodies repair themselves and our brains integrate new information, organize memories and put learned information into long-term memory. If you have trouble getting enough sleep these tips can help you build better habits:

  • Limit caffeine, particularly in the afternoon and evening.
  • Limit alcohol. Especially avoid excessive consumption before bed.
  • Try to quit tobacco use; nicotine is a stimulant.
  • Don’t use a computer, cell phone or handheld device in the 90 minutes before bedtime. LED lighting “tells” the brain to stay awake.
  • Limit television viewing before bed.
  • Lower the temperature in the house or bedroom before and during sleep. The body likes cooler temperatures. Many sleep doctors suggest lowering body temperature 90 minutes before bedtime.
  • Take a hot bath 90-120 minutes before bed.
  • Use the bed only for sleeping, lovemaking, and perhaps reading before sleep.
  • Nap only 15-20 minutes in the early afternoon, if necessary.
  • Keep a sleep diary to track patterns.
  • Eat 3-4 hours before bed and avoid heavy meals. Some evidence suggests that a light carbohydrate snack before bed helps sleep.
  • If possible, protect sleep from intrusions (unexpected noises); consider wearing earplugs.
  • If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until your body and mind feel tired.
  • Meditate, listen to soothing music, or create other nighttime rituals that signal it’s time to sleep.
  • Use blackout curtains to block light.
  • Buy and use a reliable, effective alarm clock.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow.

To view the full article from the November-December 2013 IDEA Fitness Journal click here.

Topics

Wellness

References

Rosekind, M. 2008. Peak performance requires optimal sleep and alertness. Olympic Coach, 20 (2), 4-7.

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About the Author

Mike Bracko, EdD

Mike Bracko, EdD IDEA Author/Presenter

My passion is working with hockey players to improve their skating performance. I do this with on-ice and off-ice training. I work with male and female players 8 yrs old to pro players. Another passion of mine is presenting at fitness shows. In particular IDEA shows - IDEA World and IDEA PT East & West. IDEA is a remarkable organization lead by two remarkable people - Peter and Kathie Davis. I love playing ice hockey, x-c-skiing, mt biking, and being in the mountains. Also love all water sports especially surfing and body boarding. Also one of my favorite things to do is taking my dog, Bailey (Black Lab) for trail runs, swimming, and just walking.