Sleep is very important for our general health, and many factors can interrupt it, from work, stress, family responsibilities, and illness. These are just a few of the things that we cannot control that can interfere with our sleep patterns. However, there are some things you can do to encourage better sleep. Here are a few simple tips.

Manage your sleep schedule

The recommended amount for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to be well rested.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.

If you don’t fall asleep within about 20 minutes of going to bed, get up and do something relaxing, such as reading a book or listen to music. Go back to bed when you’re tired and repeat as required.

Be careful of what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed hungry or full. The discomfort of a large meal within a couple of hours of bedtime can keep you awake.

Be careful with nicotine, caffeine and alcohol too. Nicotine and caffeine stimulation can take hours to wear off, thus interfering with sleeping patterns. And remember that although alcohol can make you sleepy, it can also disrupt sleep later in the night.

Create in a restful environment for sleep

Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. Light in the evenings can make it more difficult to fall or stay asleep. And avoid prolonged use of mobile devices just before bedtime. Room-darkening shades, curtains, earplugs, a cooling fan, or other devices can create a relaxing environment.

Calm activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or relaxation techniques, may also create a better sleep environment.

Avoid daytime naps

Daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep, so if you need a power-nap, limit it to no more than thirty minutes to an hour. Always avoid napping late in the day.

Physical activity

Regular physical activity always promotes better sleep, but not too close to bedtime as it can stimulate your energy levels too. And spend time outside every day too.

Manage your worries and concerns

Try to resolve worries before bedtime. Discuss or write down what’s on your mind way before bedtime, and if you can’t figure them out, set them aside for tomorrow.

Stress management may also help, such as organizing yourself, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.