Get a good night’s sleep: A guide to healthy sleep

DUBAI — Like eating well and being physically active, getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your well-being.

By (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Sat 30 Apr 2011, 11:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:51 AM

“There are ways you can help yourself sleep better. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, developing a bedtime routine, and making your sleep environment ‘sleep-friendly’ make all the difference in the world,” said Specialist Chest Physician Dr Mayank Vats, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah.

12 Tips for healthy sleep:

Go to sleep and wake at the same time each day: Keeping a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, may help develop a sleep-wake rhythm that encourages better sleep.

Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day: Caffeine-contained in tea, cola, and chocolate, as well as in coffee (caffeine can take as long as eight hours to wear-off fully).

Watch your diet: A heavy meal or spicy foods before bedtime can lead to nighttime discomfort, indigestion and large amount of fluids can require disruptive trips to the bathroom with resultant sleep disruption.

Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. A “nightcap” might help you get to sleep, but alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep.

Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep, if possible. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns.

Exercise regularly: Exercising in the morning or afternoon - at least three hours before bedtime, so you won’t be too ‘revved-up’ — may help you get a deeper, more restful sleep.

Don’t take naps after 3pm. Naps can boost your brain power, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Also, keep naps to under an hour.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine and it should be part of your bedtime ritual.

Have a good sleeping environment: It also helps to minimize distractions, such as noisy clocks, bright lights, and uncomfortable clothing or bedding or a TV or computer in the bedroom

Get out of bed if you’re not sleeping: If you don’t fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. Get back into bed when you feel sleepy.

Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day.

See a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping: If you consistently find yourself snoring/feeling tired or not well rested during the day despite spending enough time in bed at night, you may have a sleep disorder.

Your 7-Day Sleep Diary: This 7-day Sleep Diary will give you a clear “snapshot” of your sleep patterns to share with your doctor.

Keep a record of your sleep

It’s easy. Just answer the questions in the morning and before bed for seven consecutive days and nights. Looking at your diary, doctor may see patterns which give insight into your sleep habits.

Answer the first 6 questions each morning & 7-9 questions before sleep:

1. What time did you first go to bed last night?

2. About how long did it take you to fall asleep?

3. About how many times, if any, did you awaken during the night?

4. Overall, about how many hours did you sleep?

5. At what time did you wake up (for the last time) this morning?

6. In general, how did you feel when you woke up? Very Refreshed/Somewhat Refreshed/Fatigued (Write VR, SR , F in column)

7. How much time, if any, did you spend napping during the day?

8. Did you consume any of these substances during the day? Caffeine (within 6 hours of bedtime), Alcohol (within 1 hour of bedtime

9. When did you exercise during the day?

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