I have always tried to eat right, the first component of good health. Lately, however, I am not as energetic as I used to be, and my doctor says it is lack of healthy sleep. I have to change my lifestyle if I want to feel rested. I listened to his every word. Knowing what it means to get a good night’s rest will help you understand how vital it is to your physical and mental health.

Everyone has a unique sleep pattern, but there are some general guidelines. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. It can be consecutive or six hours plus a daytime nap. Your body will tell you what is best to keep you alert and smiling. It will tell you that you need a regular routine even if you work a nightshift.

If you fall asleep quickly, within fifteen to twenty minutes of getting into bed, you are normal. Your sleep should be continuous without long hours of lying awake because something is on your mind. It isn’t a good feeling to obsess over something and then wish you were asleep for hours on end. You should feel refreshed, my doctor says. This means alert throughout the day. If you are married or live with family, ask them if they have noticed anything out of the ordinary that might impact your ability to sleep soundly (such as breathing pauses, snoring, restless legs, etc.)

It is all about your circadian system or rhythms. If you don’t address them when having sleep disturbance, you will not feel your best. My doctor gave me a tip sheet on how to prepare for bed to enhance the quality of my sleep. If you stay up late on the Internet, texting, or watching TV, chances are you won’t doze off on time to satisfy your routine. If you eat or drink, this can impair your rest period. He asked me to keep a sleep diary to show me what I am doing wrong.

I had to practice “sleep hygiene” or healthy sleep habits so I could fall asleep in a short time and stay asleep soundly. I learnt about them here: https://www.berightlight.com/what-is-healthy-sleep/ I don’t have insomnia so I don’t require therapy; just a few lifestyle changes. These include: a consistent schedule every day (even weekends and vacations) and a reasonable bedtime. Go to bed when sleepy and it shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes to enter slumberland. Make sure your bedtime routine is relaxing. Keep your bedroom quiet with dim lights. You shouldn’t be too hot or cold. I am supposed to turn off my digital devices a half hour before bedtime and avoid large meals late in the evening. A light snack is okay.

There were more rules. I have to limit exposure to bright light, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid nighttime coffee. Alcohol, in contrast to what people think, does not help sleeplessness. Excessive fluid of any kind before bed will only cause you to toss and turn. Good luck.