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Get your sleep patterns on a better path

Did you know around one third of Americans are sleep-deprived? Spending more time at home this past year didn’t do much to improve our sleep habits either— the pandemic actually created more sleep challenges for most of us. Establishing habits like these can help improve your sleep health:

  • Keep your night-time routine consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on weekends and even while on vacation.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing and at a comfortable temperature (60-68° F).
  • Remove electronic devices (such as TVs, computers and smart phones) from your bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Reduce the amount of liquids you drink at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Stay active. Getting regular exercise during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
  • Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you turn in.

If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, try doing a calming activity outside of your bedroom without a lot of light exposure that doesn’t involve your electronics. If you still have problems getting a good night’s sleep, talk to your medical provider.

When you can’t sleep

If your sleep problems continue\ or interfere with how you function during the day, talk to your doctor. Keep a diary of your habits for 10 days to discuss at the visit, including when you:

  • Go to bed
  • Fall asleep
  • Wake up
  • Get out of bed
  • Take naps
  • Exercise
  • Drink alcohol and/or caffeine Also, mention if you are taking any type of medication or supplements as they may make it harder for you to sleep.