7 habits that will improve your sleep

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Dr, Jason Littleton, MD

Dr, Jason Littleton, MD

The sleep habits I am going to share with you are time-tested. They are known as Sleep Hygiene. I practice them every night and this is why I get excellent sleep every time.

Sleep Hygiene Habit #1: Go to bed at the same time each night, or go to bed when tired. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time each night. Ideally you want to try to wake up at the same time each morning as well. You are creating a routine and you’ll find that your body will start getting up whether or not you set your alarm clock, as it gets in the habit of sleeping the same amount each night.

Sleep Hygiene Habit #2: Before you go to bed … relax! I tell my patients all the time that your mind is like a pond that needs to be stilled. It is my recommendation that as we prepare for bed, we must discover what causes each one of us to relax the best. For some, it is listening to quiet music; for others, drinking warm tea. But whatever it is, you must practice it. When you do this, the pond of your mind goes from choppy water to motionless, still water.

Sleep Hygiene Habit #3: Think about something pleasing. One of the top three complaints I hear when it comes to insomnia is racing thoughts! Racing thoughts only seem to bother us when we are still. My suggestion is to keep a journal and make two columns. On the left, write down the concern. On the right, put down a possible solution. Then close the book and start to relax, eventually going to sleep, knowing when you wake up you are going to act on the possible solution you wrote down in the right column.

Sleep Hygiene Habit #4: Kick out the TV. Kick that TV out! (Of the bedroom, not the house!) Listen, you may think your bedroom TV has nothing to do with your sleep because you swear you turn it off when you go to sleep. But if you’re having trouble with sleep, just kick out the TV and watch it another time in another room. This is exactly what I do.

Sleep Hygiene Habit #5: Stop reading in bed. Yeah, I know, reading in bed is the national favorite pastime. But if you want to get sleep, you cannot afford to make it your pastime. Read somewhere else, like your home library or office. Stop the high-frequency brain activity!

Sleep Hygiene Habit #6: Eliminate caffeine. “But the caffeine was during the earlier part of the day!” Yeah, but you can’t sleep. Caffeine is associated with insomnia, headaches and even high blood pressure. Why not just make this a non-factor—drink some decaf tea (with lemongrass and honey) and go to town—Dreamtown, that is!

Sleep Hygiene Habit #7: Go to a massage room. Literally, go to a spa. Not for a massage (though you might as well since you are there). But go to a massage room and look. What do you see? Usually what you’ll find is a relaxing environment with dim lights and gentle music, the perfect relaxation environment. Question: Why isn’t your bedroom a carbon copy? You have to make your bedroom a sort of refuge. Otherwise it defeats the purpose and your sleep.

Dr. Jason Littleton, MD - Health Columnist

About Dr. Jason Littleton, MD - Health Columnist

Jason Littleton, MD, is a family physician, human energy expert, author, CEO of WellSpring Human Energetics, and renowned speaker who helps people to achieve their life’s goals through healthy, energized living. As a medical doctor, his passion is to optimize your life by maximizing your energy through healthy living to do the good life—your life! He is a graduate of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, where he received his doctorate of medicine, and he holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan.