Change Your Sleep Habits the Right Way

Sleep plays an important part of your life. While sometimes associated with being lazy or unproductive, it is important that each and every single person is getting enough sleep each day. Sleep serves as the body’s natural process for resting, healing, and repairing cells. While most people can think that sleep only affects how much energy you have (or don’t have), the fact is that constant sleep deprivation will begin to wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.

For more advice from Dr. Shukla, the top sleep doctor in New York City, do not hesitate to consult with Sleep MD NYC.

Sleeping habits are formed from a very young age. Think about it, you probably know of someone who claims to be a “light sleeper”. There’s a good chance that he or she has always been a light sleeper since they were a baby. This can have something to do with the environment that was kept while he or she was sleeping. Babies that are used to sleeping with more noise around them can sometimes learn to be heavier sleepers. Needless to say, whether formed during our childhood, adolescence or adulthood, sleeping habits are the repeated sleeping patterns that we acquire over time.

The good news is that if you have poor sleeping habits and recognize that you are not getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night on a consistent basis, there are things that you can do improve your sleeping habits naturally and without the need for medication or other treatment.

Below are some recommended steps towards changing your sleeping habits.

Create a Sleeping Schedule

One of the best ways to ensure that you will get enough sleep each day is to figure out when you need to wake up in the morning and work on waking up at the same time each day. Once you create that habit, you can then work backwards to figure out what your bedtime needs to be in order to consistently get your 7 to 8 hours of sleep in each night. It may be more challenging to get to bed earlier if you are not used to that, so first start on waking up at the same time each day. From there, begin to work backwards. If your wake-up time is 6am, then ideally you should be in bed by no later than 11pm, ideally by 10pm. If you’re used to going to bed at midnight each night, try going to bed at 11:45pm for a week. Then, the next week, try 11:30pm. This is far easier to manage than trying to immediately cut out 2 hours out of your day.

Avoid Taking Naps, if Possible

While napping can increase productivity, particularly if you are not getting enough rest through the night, naps are often times the cause of insomnia and the inability to properly get a good night’s rest. It can throw your body off from its regular sleeping schedule. If possible, focus more on a full night’s sleep and avoid naps. If you are tired and wish to nap, try to avoid napping within 4 to 6 hours of going to bed for the night.

Get Active

Being active each day, even for just 30 minutes, can actually improve your quality of sleep at night. The important about getting in exercise each day is to avoid doing it within 2 hours of going to sleep. This increase in your heart rate and endorphins can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Journal Before Bed

A common cause of insomnia and getting enough sleep through the night is simply having too much on your mind. This can lead to over-thinking, worrying, and even cause anxiety, which can make it difficult to rest the mind and allow you to sleep. The practice of journaling before bed, simply to get all of your thoughts out of your head and onto paper can be a helpful practice to relieve your mind of all that you have going on. Similarly, if you are up and worrying about all the things that you have to do the next day or for an upcoming event, grab a pen and piece of paper and jot down a to do list and get those items out of your head and onto paper.

Monitor Your Diet

What you eat and drink throughout the day, particularly the few hours before bedtime, can greatly impact your sleeping habits. Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, dairy and some other foods that may upset your stomach can disturb your sleep. Be mindful about what foods and drinks you are consuming before or near your bedtime and see how it impacts your sleep.

Turn Off the Tech

In a world filled with a lot of electronic gadgets (smartphones, TV, iPods, radios, tablets, etc.), it can be hard to sometimes unplug (literally!). Not only can the light and noise from your electronics create poor sleeping habits, but they can also stimulate your senses and your brain in a way that can make sleeping more difficult. Disconnect from your electronics and social media a few hours before bedtime, allowing yourself to create a healthy, serene, and “disconnected” bedtime routine.

Wind Down Before Bed

Last, but certainly not least, create a routine around bedtime that supports healthy sleeping habits. Wind down before bed by doing activities that can relax and lower your heart rate and slow down your breathing. From taking a warm bath, meditation, reading, and dimming the lights, these are all habits headed into bedtime that tells the body that it’s time to prepare to go to sleep and rest. By becoming more and more consistent with your bedtime routine, you will begin to form brand new sleeping habits that will support a healthier, better quality rest and life!

Sleep Doctor in New York City

If you struggle to get enough sleep or have tried some of the above sleeping habits and are still struggling with insomnia or not getting enough sleep, you may require additional medical assistance. Our sleep experts at Sleep MD have been helping patients with sleeping disorders figure out how to develop better sleeping habits and get a good night’s rest! Contact the best sleep doctor in New York City at Sleep MD today us at 212-661-7077 or send us a message online.

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