- Strive for 7 to 8 hours of nightly sleep—and not just on weekends.
- Try to go to bed at the same time each evening, even on weekends. Otherwise, “you’re basically putting your body through jet lag on Sunday night,” says Cathy Goldstein, MD, sleep expert.
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Install blackout blinds or curtains to block any light pollution that can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles.
- Cover up any direct glow from electronics or clocks. “You’re most sensitive to bright light in the middle of the night,” Goldstein says. “Even low levels can have a negative effect.”
- Don’t use your smartphone or tablet while in bed. Set the phone to “do not disturb” mode to avoid sleep interruptions from late-night calls or texts.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine can disrupt sleep. So can big or spicy meals. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
Source: Materials provided by University of Michigan Health System and the Sleep Foundation.