As adults, we know we need a good night’s sleep in order to perform at our peak, but we don’t always practice what we preach. We offer these seven tips to break your bad bedtime habits to help you get a better night’s sleep.

  1.  Get into a routine. It might be tempting to try and change your biological clock from night owl to early bird, especially on the weekends. Your body though, responds to routine. Think about your bedtime schedule. Do you go from one bedtime to another? For example – 10 p.m. one night, 1 a.m. on others and somewhere in between for the rest of the week? This is throwing your body clock off its rhythm so try to keep to a regular bedtime schedule seven days a week.
  2. Thrillers in bed. Many people get in the habit of settling down between the sheets and curling up with a good book before bedtime. This might not be a bad idea as long as you’re not reading thrillers. Another problem with reading in bed is, that your mind has adapted to the routine of reading before bedtime and you’ll likely toss and turn until you’ve fulfilled that part of the routine. Get in a new habit of reading on a couch or chair before bedtime to get your chapters in. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex.
  3. Turn off and tune out: Tell your Facebook and Twitter friends good night and turn off the computer. The glow from the computer screen stimulates the brain and keeps you awake. It’s also difficult for your mind to turn off and get into sleep mode if you’re thinking of what’s still on your to-do list. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t give into the temptation to turn on the computer and surf the ‘Net.
  4. Comfort counts: No matter what else you do, a good mattress is something that really counts toward getting a good night’s sleep. A decent mattress will cost anywhere from $500 up to about $3,000. The money you spend on a mattress is money well spent and the same is true for buying high quality bedding and pillows. If you’re a back or a stomach sleeper buy a soft pillow. Side sleepers should buy firmer pillows.
  5. Keep it dim: The glare that comes from your alarm clock can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. You need to have your room as dark as possible to get a good night’s sleep. If there is an option on your clock, turn the brightness down. If you can’t do that, cover the lights from the numbers.
  6. Don’t count the sheep: If you wake up, it might be tempting to stay all cozy under the blankets, but it’s not a good idea. If you’ve been lying there for more than 15 minutes, the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting up and doing a boring task – read a magazine, balance your checkbook, do some slow stretching and relaxation exercises. Soon you’ll find that your mind has calmed back down to a point where you’re tired and can go back to bed and fall asleep.
  7. Slow it down. It is important to get exercise every day, just make certain you aren’t exercising too close to bedtime. If you do, your heart rate will be up and you won’t be able to fall asleep. Exercise three hours before your usual bedtime. The physical activity you undertake will also lead to a better night’s sleep.

When it comes to a good night’s sleep, try to kick these bad habits so that you can slumber in peace and get your eight hours a night.

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;