Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

Tips to Get Better Sleep

Posted by Total Access Medical on Aug 24, 2021

SleepGood sleep is important for our bodies and minds. Without it, it’s hard to concentrate, our immune system is weakened, and we can become short-tempered, just to name a few things.

There are ways to get better sleep, with or without medications. 

Tips to Get Better REM Sleep

There are some things you can do to help you get better REM sleep. You might have to try one or more to see what works for you.

  1. Develop a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This primes your body for sleep and waking.
  2. Don’t drink caffeine or smoke cigarettes later in the day. These are stimulants and can interfere with sleep.
  3. Avoid alcoholic drinks at night. Though they may initially make you sleepy, they actually interfere with sleep, particularly REM sleep.
  4. Put together a relaxing sleep routine before bed. Warm baths, relaxing music like classical music, or quietly reading are all good activities.
  5. Get regular exercise. Try to get about 20 to 30 minutes a day, but do so several hours before bed.
  6. Create an ideal environment for sleep. That means no bright lights, not too hot and not too cold, and don’t watch television or work on the computer in the bedroom. Refrain from using your phone before bed time as the light can prevent you from falling asleep fast.
  7. If you can’t sleep, don’t lie in bed awake. Get up and go into another room and do something quietly, like read or listen to relaxing music, until you’re sleepy.
  8. Replace your pillows. If you’ve had your pillows for more than a year, consider replacing them. This might make you more comfortable for sleep.

If nothing works, talk with a medical professional. They may have other suggestions, run some tests to see if there’s an underlying cause for your sleep issues, or talk with you about prescribing medication or supplements. Supplements that may be helpful with sleep include:

  • melatonin
  • valerian root
  • magnesium
  • chamomile
  • tryptophan
  • glycine
  • L-theanine
  • gingko biloba

Adequate REM sleep is necessary for good health and proper functioning. Chronic sleep deprivation can negatively impact your quality of life — but it doesn’t have to. There are ways to get better sleep. If lifestyle changes don’t help with sleep, talk with your doctor about medications, either over-the-counter or prescription, that might be helpful to you.

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