Change your sleeping habits, change your daytime outlook! If you wake up tired and in a bad mood, chances are you aren’t getting enough restful sleep at night. With all of the stresses of the day, it’s sometimes hard to shut your mind off and relax enough to sleep, add to that aches and pains and a bedroom that might not be conducive to a good sleep, and you’re asking for a night of tossing and turning.

Check out these suggestions to see if incorporating one, or more, might help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Remember, though if your sleep problems persist and if you find you’re having a hard time staying awake during the day, snoring, or falling asleep at inappropriate times, you might want to check with your doctor or a sleep specialist to see if you need a sleep study.

  1.  Although it’s tempting to sleep in on the weekends it’s always best to keep to the same bedtime routine. Staying on a schedule will help reinforce your body’s circadian rhythms and help you fall asleep more easily once bedtime rolls around.
  2. Regular exercise will help you sleep at night, especially aerobic exercise – something that gets your heart pumping. You want to make certain you exercise three to six hours before bedtime to reap the benefits from it.
  3. Eat light before bedtime. Consuming food too close to bedtime can cause heartburn; it’s best to avoid spicy and fatty foods. Also, drinking too much before bedtime will have you waking up for bathroom trips and that will add to your sleep disruptions.
  4. Just say no to alcohol, caffeine and nicotine in the evening. These stimulants will keep you tossing and turning.
  5. Make it inviting. Your bedroom should be cool, dark, quiet and be an inviting refuge from the stresses of the day. For the best night’s sleep, your bedroom should be free of computers, televisions and other distractions. If you need noise to sleep invest in a white noise machine or turn on a fan. Make certain your bed and pillow are comfortable.
  6. Nix the naps. Sure, sometimes taking a nap is necessary but if you sleep too long during the day, your body won’t be craving sleep at night – when you really need it. If you must nap, limit it to 30 minutes or less.
  7. Wind down with a routine. Get yourself into a bedtime routine. Choose a couple of tasks before bedtime that will signal to your body that sleep is coming. You can take a warm bath, read a book, listen to soft music, perform some relaxing yoga stretches. Find a way to ease the transition from being awake to falling asleep and eventually your body and mind will associate these triggers with falling asleep.

Once you’ve crawled beneath the sheets, and find you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 minutes, it’s best that you get up and do something relaxing and then try to go back asleep when you’re feeling more tired. Stressing over not being able to fall asleep will only make the situation worse.

 There are times in everyone’s life when sleepless nights are an issue, but if you find those nights persist, it’s time to check with a doctor or sleep specialist to see if you might be suffering from a sleep-related disorder.

Here are a few things to keep track of to see if a sleep disorder might be keeping you awake nights:

  • Loud snoring punctuated by pauses in breathing
  • Continual daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Waking with headaches in the morning
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Inability to move while falling asleep or waking up (nighttime paralysis)

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900;