A good night of sleep is very important to our overall health and ability to function effectively throughout the day. However, when our lives become busy, sleep becomes less of a priority for many of us. William C. Dement, MD, PhD, the Dean of Sleep Disorders Research and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, states: "Americans have gotten the message that good nutrition and plenty of exercise are important for health, but we have not paid enough attention to the third pillar of good health, which is adequate sleep."
You can improve the quality of your sleep by following these recommendations:
- Establish relaxing pre-sleep routines. It is important to incorporate time to "wind down" from your daily activities.
- Minimize light, noise, and temperature extreme in the bedroom.
- Avoid large meals just before bedtime. Small snacks are not a problem, but large meals keep the digestive system active and can disrupt sleep.
- Avoid strenuous exercise within two to three hours of bedtime. Strenuous exercise can elevate body temperature and cause difficulty falling asleep at bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulants within four hours of bedtime.