A couple of months ago I wrote about some tips for a better night's sleep. We discussed having a quiet, cool bedroom, giving yourself time to wind down, and taking the TV out of the bedroom. My mother emailed me this morning with some additional sleep tips that she thought would be worth updating you on.

The Townsquare News Network reported back in January that, while the nation's stress level is down a little bit in the latest survey from the American Psychological Association, we're still feeling it here in Ocean County. One of the leading causes of stress - not enough sleep.

So, without further delay, here are some more tips to help you get a restful night's sleep:

  • Cut down on the caffeine - It's good to avoid caffeinated drinks for a few hours before bed time. That last cup of coffee at work should probably be your last for the day. Avoid sugary and/or caffeinated soft drinks at dinner time.
  • Try to keep a regular schedule - It's nice to sleep in on the weekend, but it can also throw off your sleep pattern. Within reason, it's a good idea to try to go to sleep around the same time every night. On the weekend, if you can, let yourself wake up naturally, without the alarm clock. If you wake up at your normal weekday time, it's a pretty good indication that you're already practicing good sleep habits!
  • Avoid naps - Who doesn't love a good nap during the day? The only problem is that it can throw off your natural sleep cycle. Instead of your body being ready for sleep when it's bed time, that nap may have been enough to confuse your system.

Not sure how your sleep is actually progressing? If you have a smartphone there are actually some apps now that claim to track your sleep pattern based on your movement during the night. I use Smart Alarm Clock. While I'm a little skeptical as to whether it's really able to track your different levels of sleep, it has built in soothing sounds to help you fall asleep and the alarm feature claims to wake you up at the point that would be less likely to disturb your cycle and make you feel groggy in the morning.

So what are some of the strategies you use to get a better night's sleep? Warm milk? White noise? Feel free to leave a comment and let everyone know!