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Improve Your Sleep Today: Make Sleep a Priority

Once you have a nightly goal based on the hours of sleep that you need, it’s time to start planning for how to make that a reality.

Once you have a nightly goal based on the hours of sleep that you need, it’s time to start planning for how to make that a reality.

Start by making sleep a priority in your schedule. This means budgeting for the hours you need so that work or social activities don’t trade off with sleep. While cutting sleep short may be tempting in the moment, it doesn’t pay off because sleep is essential to being at your best both mentally and physically.

Improving your sleep hygiene, which includes your bedroom setting and sleep-related habits, is an established way to get better rest. Examples of sleep hygiene improvements include:

Sticking to the same sleep schedule every day, even on weekends.

Practicing a relaxing pre-bed routine to make it easier to fall asleep quickly.

Choosing a mattress that is supportive and comfortable and outfitting it with quality pillows and bedding.

Minimizing potential disruptions from light and sound while optimizing your bedroom temperature and aroma.

Disconnecting from electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops for a half-hour or more before bed.

Carefully monitoring your intake of caffeine and alcohol and trying to avoid consuming them in the hours before bed.

If you’re a parent, many of the same tips apply to help children and teens get the recommended amount of sleep that they need for kids their age. Pointers for parents can help with teens, specifically, who face a number of unique sleep challenges.

Getting more sleep is a key part of the equation, but remember that it’s not just about sleep quantity. Quality sleep matters5, too, and it’s possible to get the hours that you need but not feel refreshed because your sleep is fragmented or non-restorative. Fortunately, improving sleep hygiene often boosts both the quantity and quality of your sleep.

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as significant sleepiness during the day, chronic snoring, leg cramps or tingling, difficulty breathing during sleep, chronic insomnia, or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care doctor or find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause.

You can try using the National Sleep Foundation Sleep Diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period. This can provide insight about your sleep patterns and needs. It can also be helpful to bring with you to the doctor if you have ongoing sleep problems.

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