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Top 10 Habits For Good Sleep!
By Dr.Panchajanya Paul, MD, FAPA & Dr. Ajay Singh, MD, MS
 



Many of us struggle with sleep. The problems can be many. Some struggle to fall asleep at night, some to maintain sleep throughout the night, and some from too early waking. Whatever the nature of the problem, sleep deprivation weakens the mind and body, and makes us vulnerable to various mental and physical diseases. Here is a list of ten ways to get good sleep every night.
1. Schedule Sleep: Maintain a consistent bed-time routine. Go to bed at the same time every night. Try to keep it the same on weekends in order to keep body's clock tuned.
2. Exercise daily: Try to get some exercise during the day; as little as 20 minutes can help. Aerobics, lifting weights, power yoga, walking- any form of physical exertion will help. However, avoid heavy exercise 2 hours before sleep as the increased arousal from exercise might make sleep difficult.
3. Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine before bedtime. Alcohol helps to sleep in short term, but robs the brain of deep restorative sleep in long term. Caffeine is present in tea, coffee, and soda. Nicotine is present in cigarettes. Both caffeine and nicotine are brain stimulants, which makes one more alert and awake, while making it difficult to fall asleep.
4. Relax before Sleep: Do something relaxing before bed time like taking a warm bath, reading, or listening to music. Mindfulness exercises can also help.
5. Light Exposure during day. Try to get exposure to sunlight or any full spectrum bright light in the morning. Exposure to light during the day and darkness before bed, will entrain your circadian rhythm to the daily light-dark cycle. This will help you stay alert and active during day, while being tired and sleepy at night.
6. Don't eat before going to bed. Have your dinner at least two hours before sleep time. Avoid food just before bedtime, and never have your food on bed. A heavy meal before bedtime is difficult to digest, and will also impair sleep. Also avoid too spicy or sugary food before bed. Food rich in tryptophan like nuts, cheese, oats, beans, lentils, eggs, fish, chicken, turkey can boost sleep.
7. Don't check emails or work on your laptop just before bed. The mind needs to relax and any activation will impair sleep. Avoid TV, Computer, or bright light before sleep as they inhibit the sleep inducing hormone –melatonin.
8. Keep your bedroom quiet, cold, and dark at night. Adjust your thermostat to a lower temperature between 60 to 67 degrees. Use thick curtains to block light and white-noise to block sound.
9. The bed should be used for sleep, sex, and some light-reading. Avoiding other activates at bed will help the body associate the bed with sleep.
10. Write your worries before sleep. Many people bring their worries to bed and can't stop thinking about them. Keep a journal at bedside to write down troubling thoughts before going to bed. This will stop the repeated cycle of worrying and enable sleep.

Sleep is vital to life. Seek professional help if you struggle with sleep chronically and experience daytime fatigue. Many of the sleep problems can be resolved with the help of medications and therapy like Cognitive behavioral therapy for Insomnia. In the end, don't neglect any sleep problems, and make every effort to get good sleep for your health and wellbeing.



 


Dr. Panchajanya Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, is an American Board certified - Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. He holds adjunct faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine; University of Georgia & Georgia Regents University, and University of Central Florida School of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta.


 

Dr. Ajay Singh, MD, MS is a board certified child, adoloscent & adult psychiatrist who practices near Sacramanto, California. He is the medical Director of mental health facility, with over 20 years of experience.