How to Get Good Sleep
Sleep is such an important part of our lives, but for some of us it isn't an easy thing to get. Some of us struggle to get effective sleep, others struggle to get to sleep, and still others struggle to stay asleep. Whatever the problem we find ourselves tired and less functional the next day. Well, it doesn't have to be that way. We can get the sleep that we need and a few good tips will help us get on our way!
Often people find that if they eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables they get better sleep. Junk food often leaves the body sluggish and can make it harder to get a good nights sleep. Make sure you are eating good things, and only eating unhealthy foods in moderation!
General Tips for Better Sleep
- Keep your room a comfortable temperature. This isn't always easy. Sometimes you share a room and the other person likes it colder or hotter then you do. Other times the weather makes it hard, but you should try to keep your room a comfortable temperature for good sleep. For most people, the room should be cool, but not cold or hot.
- Cover up background noises. Life is full of noises. The neighbors, traffic, people walking by who are loud, animals, and all sorts of disruptions. Cover these noises with a white noise machine (available in the US for $15 or less) or a loud fan.
- Keep it dark. The body likes to sleep in the dark. Make sure all lights are off and that the shades are drawn tight.
- Use the bed for sleeping and adult activities only. Often we use the bed for watching TV, reading, or other things. This is bad. Our brains love consistency and it is a good idea to use the bed only for sleeping and adult activities.
- Leave your room to just sleeping. It is a good idea to have your room be just for sleeping. Take the TV out and computer. These things are often stimulants and make it harder for a good nights sleep.
Exercise is important for a lot of reasons. However, it can also make it easier to sleep at night. You should get in exercise daily. This should be done at least four hours before bed because it is likely that you will be energized right after exercising. This will make you more tired come bed time and it will also make your body ready for bed.
Tips for Falling Asleep
Some of us have great sleep once we get there. However, we have a hard time getting there. Here are some tips to help those of us that have a hard time getting to sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine before bed. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and should be avoided for about four hours before bed. Caffeine should also be taken in only small doses after lunch.
- Avoid TV or computer time before bed. The unnatural light from the TV and computer has been found to convince the brain that it is still daylight. It is best to avoid watching TV or using the computer for the 30-90 minutes before bed. You can use this time to set up a nightly routine instead.
- Have a bed time routine. We usually think of bed time routines as things for children. They wash their hands and face, brush their teeth, and get a good night story. This is because our bodies like routines and this gets them ready for bed. Even as adults we can benefit from a nightly routine.
- Take a hot shower or bath. Take a hot shower or bath about a half an hour to hour before bed. This is an excellent start to a nightly routine. The hot water warms the body temperature slightly. As the temperature begins to fall the body relaxes and naturally gets ready for sleep.
- Use aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is an excellent option for helping to fall asleep. Fragrances like lavender or lavender vanilla are get night time fragrances. You can use bubble bath, body wash, or lotion that has this fragrance for a relaxing before bed time. You can even get candles to help with your aromatherapy sessions.
- Meditate and do deep breathing exercises. Meditation i a technique that often mystifies those of the west, however it can help with a huge number of problems including relaxing. You can set still, breath deep, and work on clearing your thoughts.
- Have a snack and milk. A light snack and a glass of milk are a good thing to have before bed if you have a hard time sleeping. You will then feel full and milk has ingredients that can make you sleep (much the same as turkey).
- Trap your thoughts. If you are laying in bed and find yourself thinking of a million and one things then it is time to trap your thought. Imagine them running around as physical things. Then work on catching them and placing them in a cupboard in a special storage room. Place them in the cupboard. Shut the door. Lock the door. Turn out the light. Close the storage room and lock that door as well. Now your thoughts are locked up and unable to run around and you are in the darkness of night!
Sometimes it isn't enough to work with these things and we need sleeping pills to aid us through. However, these should be used as a last resort. They can actually make sleep harder, especially natural sleep. Talk with your doctor before you begin taking sleeping pills regularly (even over the counter "safe" ones).
Tips for Staying Asleep
If you have no problem getting to sleep, but you find that it is easy for you to wake up or that you are waking up several times a night, then these things may be of great help for you.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol often makes it easy to fall asleep, however alcohol induced sleep is often restless and can make for a rough night of waking up and falling back to sleep (even if you don't realize it is happening) making you feel tired when you wake up in the morning. If you avoid alcohol for about three hours before bed you are more likely to get a great nights sleep.
- Don't drink anything for two hours before bed. If you have to take a drink of water or other fluid before bed then only take sips. Often we wake up in the night because our bladders are full (some people will even wake up several times during the night and not realize that they have to go to the bathroom).
- Set a sleep schedule. Set a sleep schedule that includes a bed time routine and a morning routine. This will help make sleep easier to get.
- Trap your thoughts. If you find yourself waking up because you are thinking too much, then trap your thoughts.
Bed Time Routine Ideas
You can include all sorts of things into your bed time routine, here are a few ideas for a great bed time routine.
- Shower or bath.
- Lotion up.
- Brush your teeth.
- Burn a candle.
- Listen to music.
- Meditate and do deep breathing exercises.
- Have a snack and or milk.
- Make a to do list for the morning.
- Set out your clothing.
- Prepare tomorrow's lunch.
- Give yourself a neck massage.
- Rub your feet.
Sleep is a very important part of our lives. Work hard to get a good nights sleep because it will make your entire life easier. The better quality your sleep is, the better your life will be while you are awake!
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