Sleep disorders are a common problem. According to a study conducted by Statistics Canada, approximately 60% of women and 40% of men reported having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep on a regular basis.
If you’re finding it hard to get a good night’s sleep, here are a few tips that could help:
Turn off your screens
Turn off your electronic devices at least one hour before going to bed. The light given off by cellphones, tablets, computers, and TVs stimulates certain zones of the brain and interferes with sleep. Applications that filter blue light may help, but shouldn’t be used as an excuse to watch a movie in bed!
Stick to a routine
By going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day, even on weekends, you create a routine that your body recognizes. While it doesn’t hurt to sleep in every now and then, try not to sleep more than two hours longer than on other days.
Regular napping can interfere with your nighttime sleep. If you feel the need to nap, try not to sleep for more than 30 minutes, and limit your naps to the early afternoon.
Don’t eat before going to bed
It’s best not to eat a large meal in the two hours leading up to bedtime as digestion can interfere with your sleep. Restrict drinking in the evening so you don’t have to get up to urinate during the night.
Avoid stimulating substances in the evening
Stay away from caffeine and other stimulants (tobacco, soda, chocolate) before bedtime (4 to 6 hours before going to bed).
Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime
Regular physical activity is an excellent way to enhance sleep. However it’s best to avoid intense exercise in the three hours prior to bedtime.
Switch your brain to “off ”
Activities like yoga, breathing and relaxation techniques, and meditation are good ways to unwind, and help manage stress that can interfere with sleep.
Jot down what’s worrying you in a notebook or make a list of things you don’t want to forget, to help free your mind before you go to bed.
Check whether your medications are interfering with sleep
If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription medication, ask your pharmacist whether they could interfere with your sleep. He or she can propose a solution as needed.