How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is a basic requirement for good health. The mind and the body need sleep to perform maintenance and repair. Even one night of disrupted or missed sleep can drastically alter a person’s chemical balance and cause daytime sleepiness and fatigue. The results of such sleep deprivation can reduce productivity as well as increase the chances of accidents at home or at work. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, although sleep requirements may differ from one per- son to the next. For example, some people may feel rested after 5 or 6 hours of sleep, whereas others may still feel sleepy after 9 or more hours of sleep.
In general, people tend to sleep less soundly as they age. They may wake up more frequently and have a harder time getting back to sleep. Many older men may ﬁnd that they simply don’t need as much sleep as they did when they were younger. Overweight men may have problems getting a good night’s sleep. Snor- ing also may contribute to a loss of sleep. Sleep apnea (a condition characterized by brief episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep) is another common rea- son for losing sleep. Many people who have sleep apnea ﬁnd it difﬁcult to stay awake during the day. However, the most common reason for an occasional night of lost sleep is worry or anxiety.
Here are some helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
• Stick to a regular schedule for going to bed and getting up. Going to bed and getting up at the same time help set your biological clock.
• Do not sleep late on weekends, and avoid napping during the day.
• Make your bedroom exclusively a place for sleep and sex. This means no TV, work, or serious discussions while in bed. Keep your bedroom comfortable, dark, quiet, and not too warm (about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit).
• Exercise during the day so your metabolism has slowed by bedtime and you are ready for sleep.
• Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, and rich, heavy meals before bedtime.
• If you are not lactose intolerant, drink a warm glass of milk just before bed- time. But don’t drink so much that a full bladder disturbs your sleep.
• Have sex before bedtime; it may have a relaxing effect.
• Take a warm bath just before bedtime to help you relax.
• Set aside some quiet time about an hour or so before bedtime.
• If you still can’t fall asleep, get up and read or do a simple chore until you become tired.