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How to Get a Good Night of Sleep

Updated on June 27, 2011

We Need Our Rest

We’ve all heard the importance of sleep for our health. In my article, “Sleep More To Lose Weight”, I talk about how weight loss is affected by sleep. There are many other body processes and functions that benefit from sleep. But what can we do when a restful night sleep is a seemingly impossible dream? There are a lot of strategies but there are a few basic things that anyone can try. These tips assume that there are no underlying health reasons for the insomnia.

Tips to Make Sleep Easier

1. Figure out how much sleep you need. Most people need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep to feel rested. You can get by on less, but it affects your bodies performance and overall health.

2. Choose a sleep schedule. Based on the number of hours you need to sleep, you have to decide when to go to bed and when to get up. The majority of Americans get less sleep than what they require. If you don’t feel that you can fit in those hours, you need to look at your schedule to see what you can adjust. If packing lunches or cooking dinner makes you late, can you pre-plan your meals? Can you cut down on your morning preparations? Lay out clothes the night before? You may have to experiment to see what works, but try to find a way to get the amount of sleep you need.

3. Relax before bedtime. Try to schedule in a time to unwind at least 30 minutes before bedtime to read or do something you enjoy. Experts say not to watch tv or use the computer because the bright lights will keep your body awake. If that is what you truly do to unwind, then try turning down the lights. Don’t turn them completely off or it will intensify the glare, but have soft lighting to set a relaxing atmosphere.

4. Keep your bedroom comfortable. This means the temperature, the lighting, your mattress, noise level. Some people prefer white noise to complete silence. The main thing is to keep your bedroom for sleeping and not use it for work or watching tv. Treat it like a hotel room where you pamper yourself. Studies have shown that clutter can affect our ability to relax, so keeping your bedroom picked up can help in your efforts to get a better night’s sleep.

5. Eat healthy and exercise. Daily exercise can help you sleep better. Most people discourage strenuous exercise too close to bedtime, but a nice relaxing walk can actually help. Drinking caffeine in the evening can keep your body alert as well as get you up to the bathroom in the night. A cup of chamomile tea has been suggested to help you sleep. While it’s not been proven in studies as a sleep aide, it can be relaxing.

6. Don’t fall asleep ahead of time. A lot of people fall asleep watching television in their recliner or on the couch and then aren’t ready to sleep when they go to bed. If you feel yourself getting sleepy, get up and move around.

7. Take naps during the day. If you can’t get your full amount of sleep in, take a nap rather than sleeping late. Studies show that a daytime nap doesn’t disrupt your body’s nighttime routine like sleeping late. The key is to limit the nap so that it doesn’t keep you up late that night. Most experts recommend about thirty minutes for a nap.

Sweet Dreams

The important thing to remember is to make time for sleep. Your mind and body needs it and cannot function effectively without the right amount. Make it a priority and your body will thank you for it.


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    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Good tips on getting a good night's sleep. I very rarely have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, except to get up 2-3 times to hit the bathroom ;)

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Good advice. I always have a hard time falling asleep, and when I sleep in the next day it just makes me more tired. And then the cycle continues the next day.

    • Jlbowden profile image

      James Bowden 6 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Hello JM:

      very nicely written and informative article about sleep, which I voted useful. You certainly hit upon some key and important points in reference to developing good sleeping habits. I for one, need either white noise, or a fan set on low to medium speed to sleep soundly. Also I should try taking a nap during the day sometime. Something I never do much. Thanks again for sharing this information and good luck to you here on hubpages.


    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      Welcome to HubPages! This is a great hub. I need 8 hours sleep and I unwind by reading before I go to bed. Thanks for sharing.