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Successful Sleep Habits

Six to eight hours of good sleep per night is one of the most effective ways to give the body the strength it needs to handle stress.

  • Stick to a schedule. Our bodies operate best when they are on a predictable schedule. We should go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Limit naps. An afternoon nap may be the boost that gets us through a long day, but it may also be initiating a cycle that makes it difficult to fall asleep at night, leading to poor sleep.
  • Create a comfortable environment. The best sleep happens in places that are dark, cool and quiet. Turn off the lights, the television and radio and turn on a fan.
  • Establish a routine. A soothing pre-sleep routine – like prayer, reading, journaling or a shower – eases our body out of the stresses of the day and into a comfortable night’s sleep. Turn off the phone or tablet an hour before bed. The light – not to mention the unrelenting flow of information – can make it difficult for our bodies to quiet themselves.

Dana Dowd, MSPT, is a physical therapist at Saint Luke Institute.