Part 2 Sleep and Health
Establishing a Sleep Ritual
Individuals regularly getting high quality sleep often have a sleep ritual. A sleep ritual is a routine that helps the mind and body wind down at the end of the day in preparation for a good night’s sleep. In evaluating your sleep, does your sleep ritual include the following?
- Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends. Sleeping more than 1-2 hours more on the weekend can wreak havoc on your circadian rhythms, so a regular wake schedule is important.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep.
- Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.
- Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least 2 hours before bedtime, as exercising before you sleep can leave your body too energized to relax.
- Avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate) 3-4 hours before bedtime. It can keep you awake.
- Avoid nicotine (e.g. cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
Using a Sleep Diary
A sleep diary can help you evaluate your sleep over time. Typical things kept in a sleep diary include levels of sleepiness at different times during the day, times you sleep well, times you have difficulty staying awake, and recording the amount of sleep you get each night.
Alcohol and Sleep
Alcohol can make you feel tired because it is a depressant and has sedative qualities, but drinking alcohol can interrupt sleep and interfere with the quality of your sleep. It can also magnify the effects of sleep deprivation.
Establishing a routine that helps the mind and body wind down at the end of the day will help you prepare for a good night’s sleep.
If you are experiencing any sleep disturbances, the Health and Counseling Center is available by appointment. Please call 330-569-5418.
University Health Center, UGA. 2014.
National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org
The Better Sleep Council, www.bettersleep.org