Sleep can be a touchy subject, especially if lack of it has you crabby and worn out.  There are several factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep, and to get better sleep, your job is to conquer them.  Although you might not be able to control all of the factors that disrupt your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep.  Start with these simple tips:

1)    Set a sleep schedule
The key to sleeping well is to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.  Yes, this includes weekends, holidays and days off.  By following a sleep schedule, your body will have a consistent sleep-wake cycle which helps promote better sleep.

2)    Pay attention to your diet 
The foods and beverages you consume, even early on in the day can determine how well you sleep at night.  Don’t go to bed hungry or overly full.  This can make you uncomfortable and cause you to wake more often during the night.  Limit the amount that you drink before bed to prevent late night bathroom trips.  Pay especially close attention to nicotine, caffeine and alcohol which can interrupt quality sleep.

3)    Create a bedtime ritual 
Do the same things every night to get your body used to winding down.  Engage in relaxing activities, like taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book or listening to soft music.  These can promote better sleep.  Avoid using the TV or other electronic devices which can interfere with the ability to fall asleep.

4)    Get comfortable 
Make sure your room is ideal for sleeping.  Everyone is different, but most people prefer a cool, dark and quiet room.  Some people benefit from using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other things to create a better sleeping environment.  Ensure that your mattress and pillow are comfortable enough for you, too. It’s especially important to keep your TV out of the bedroom, make your bedroom a place for winding down and sleep.

5)    Avoid napping 
Sleeping during the day can make it harder for you to sleep at night.  Try the best you can to avoid taking naps, no matter how badly you want to!  You can wake yourself up throughout the day by taking a walk, talking to a friend or listening to upbeat music. Staying awake during daytime hours will help you get better sleep at night.

6)    Exercise
Including physical activity in your daily routine can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.  Don’t exercise too close to your bedtime though as this can make you energized and make it harder to fall asleep.

7)    Keep stress to a minimum 
Having a stressful lifestyle can make it more difficult to sleep.  Learn how to manage your stress to promote getting better sleep.  Get organized, set priorities and take breaks!  It also helps to write down your worries before you go to bed and don’t think about it until tomorrow.

Everyone has an occasional sleepless night.  But if you continuously have trouble sleeping, consulting with a doctor may help.  You may have an underlying illness or condition that is disrupting your sleep, and a doctor can help treat this.