A group of women power walk in the park.

You’ve had a full day, but you’ve got to squeeze in time for email, your favorite shows, social media or your favorite game, right? But how you use the time before bed may impact the quality and quantity of your sleep.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends 7 or 8 hours of sleep daily for adults.1

Ongoing sleep deficiency is associated with heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. If you make sleep a priority, it may help with brain function and other wellness goals and improve your overall health.2

Getting your best sleep starts as soon as you wake up. Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you become well-rested:3

Keep a schedule. Aim to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day—even on weekends! Set a realistic bedtime that works with your lifestyle, and avoid sleeping in—even on nights you’ve stayed up late. Sleeping late may cause you to stay up later, making it harder to maintain your set wake-up time. While you’re building a healthier schedule, avoid hitting that snooze button and you might feel less groggy.

Get moving. Regular exercise reduces stress and anxiety and generally improves sleep.4 However, exercising a few hours before bedtime may make falling asleep challenging. So you need to figure out what works best for you. Take notes on how well you sleep after working out at different times. Try exercising earlier in the day, not right before bedtime, and see if you sleep better.

Wind down. Take a hot bath, brew some (decaf) tea or do something else relaxing (ideally without an electronic device). Winding down an hour before bed may help alert your mind and body that it’s time to go to sleep. If you’re guilty of lying in bed unable to sleep due to stress, try writing down what’s on your mind. Outlining what’s keeping you awake, no matter how simple or complicated, can help relax your mind before bed.

Sources:

  1. “Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency,” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institute of Health, last accessed Oct. 14, 2019, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency, opens new window.
  2. “Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.”
  3. “Sleep Tips: 6 Tips to Better Sleep,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed Oct. 14, 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379, opens new window.
  4. “Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed Nov. 6, 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379, opens new window.