- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Over 40 Tips for Getting the Perfect Night’s Sleep
Sleep, although natural, is actually one of the most important things in life. You can go weeks without food, but only days without water and sleep, although a few unique people claim to have gone years without sleep after a trauma to the brain.
Not getting enough sleep can affect you in many ways. You aren’t able to concentrate as well, you can’t work or perform to your full potential, and you are constantly yawning which is a pain as well. The average adult is supposed to have 8 hours of sleep, a teenager 7, a child 12 and a toddler about 16, according to sources. Others believe that old people, in their seventies and beyond, sleep less than eight hours, but this is quite humourously attributed to the fact that they are more restless and fall out of bed during the night!
I’ve even heard of some extreme cases where people have died because of lack of sleep, although they were usually MMORPG players who thought that sleep was an inconvenience and that they could spend their time doing better things instead.
There’s been many a time in my life when I felt as though I wouldn’t be able to sleep the whole night. I would lie awake until dawn, either because I was ‘overtired’ or I had way too much on my mind. To be able to sleep, at least well, you need to be in a certain mood and frame of mind, one of a relaxed nature. It doesn’t help if you go to bed angry or anxious. Our emotions have a lot to do with it, and a good night’s sleep starts in the mind.
There’s no point in saying, “I can’t sleep”. There must be a reason, and you need to either know or find out what it is, and prepare for it before you go to sleep so that you know that at least you are not letting it happen and just accepting it, but trying to do something about it. Even insomnia in some cases can be due to other underlying problems.
It’s not worth getting addicted to painkillers, sleeping pills, anti-depressants or any recreational drugs, just to help you sleep. You will build up a tolerance level to these drugs, or they could possibly kill you and you’ll also spend quite a bit of money too.
I can accept that lots of people may actually have a serious mental disorder, sleep disorder or other problem that might cause them to lose sleep. My dad has gone through sleep apnea at one point in his life and he would wake up every minute or so. Eventually he had to see a doctor about it, and he was on some hefty looking machine for a while.
There’s a chance you might just suffer from poor sleep quality, as good doctors are not known to immediately diagnose someone as having insomnia. To these people and indeed anyone who’s interested, try a few of these things that I’m about to suggest. Natural remedies might seem less effective but are less dangerous. Besides, you’d be surprised what works.
It’s all about the process of elimination. Start keeping a checklist, perhaps this one for instance, and make sure you’ve done absolutely everything on it before retiring for the night, which will also serve to make you feel organized and more likely to sleep.
"There are extreme cases where people have died because of lack of sleep, although they were usually MMORPG players who thought that sleep was an inconvenience and that they could spend their time doing better things instead."
The Perfect Snore
• Before I go to bed every night, I usually switch on the TV so that my mind can switch off and just pay attention to what’s going on and not what’s going on in my mind.
• I also listen to music, as sometimes it helps, although if it’s a catchy tune or riff, it gets stuck in your head and you just want to keep singing it or play it in your head.
• I also like to write and get things off my chest that way, and when I combine that with listening to music, it’s very effective.
• Also, exercising a little, like going for a walk tires you out just enough to sleep, whereas sometimes when you’re too worked up or amped, it can have the opposite effect.
• If you go the whole day without sleep and work hard at something, like writing, which uses up a lot of mental energy, you’ll get very tired.
• Reading, especially if it’s a particularly boring book or article, can tire you out. Pay attention! Reading this is for your own good! Wake up!
• Sometimes trying to stay awake is a good method of going to sleep, whereas trying too hard to go to sleep will keep you awake.
• It’s difficult to sleep when you’re hungry or thirsty. If you feel like eating or drinking, go and do it, otherwise just thinking about it will drive you crazy.
• You can’t sleep when you really need to go to the toilet, so get that over and done with before you go to bed.
• The bed might not be all that comfortable, in which case try another mattress. Instead of splashing out on a new one right away, try to see if you can get your hands on a spare one.
• Sometimes the guilt of not having done anything during the day can keep you up during the night. Even the physical side of being lazy could mean that because you’ve done nothing but sit around all day watching TV and not doing anything constructive, you won’t be tired at night because you’ve been resting the whole day.
• Having a short sleep in the afternoon to make up for a bad night will put you in a better mood.
•Run through all the good things you’ve accomplished during the day, the week, and the month, so that you can feel that you deserve to go to sleep.
Stop using the computer, staring at the TV, or using a smartphone – anything that has a screen – a full hour before you go to sleep.
The blue light generated from these devices causes an interruption in the secretion of melatonin, which helps you tell day from night. So when you try to sleep, your brain will be convinced that it’s day and not night, and you will find it harder to sleep.
In addition to taking melatonin supplements, you can also try using a program called f.lux – this will help create lighting on your computer screen that is duller and not as bright as you are accustomed to. It might take a while to get used to, but your brain and body (and eyes!) will thank you for it.
• Medication could help, but you have to be careful seeing as some of these pills are heavy and if you overdose or come off of them straight away without gradually weaning yourself off of them, it can put you in a coma or kill you. Some can even cause brain damage. Always make sure you read the inserts in the box, and follow the dosage instructions.
• They always say that lavender works. Put a sprig of lavender inside your pillowcase, crush it up if you can feel it too much, and spray lavender linen spray on the sheets and duvet.
• Any unpleasant smells can keep you awake, and the lavender will help with this.
• Not having a bath can leave you with greasy hair and feeling dirty, and of course, this can keep you awake if you’re a very fastidious person.
• Change your bed linen and your sleeping clothes often.
• Any noise, big or small can keep you awake, so it might be wise to put a fan on in your bedroom to create some good noise to block out the others, while keeping you cool in summer. If it’s too cold for a fan, then put in some ear plugs.
• Unplug the phone in your room or don’t have one in there to begin with. Switch your cellphone off too. Businesses have office hours and so does your home. Anyone who calls you at three in the morning is either drunk or has problems sleeping as well. Instead of telling them to flip off, tell them to read this article.
• If it’s light that keeps you awake, try thicker curtains or put blinds up in front of them. I’ve also seen people hang blankets on their pelmet or railing, to block out light from street lamps or the moon. Some people don’t find it a problem though and sleep with the curtains open (mad).
• If it’s winter and you’re very cold, make sure in addition to having a blanket and the heater on, that you have socks on, as bare feet in a cold bed will keep you awake.
• They say that drinking warm milk before bed is good.
• Having a hot bath and then drinking some orange juice is supposed to be good.
• Eating cheese is supposed to lead to having nightmares during the night.
• Vitamin deficiency can lead to sleep problems, like lack of sufficient magnesium in your diet.
"The average adult is supposed to have 8 hours of sleep, a teenager 7, a child 12 and a toddler about 16."
• Pets can keep you awake because of their different ‘lifestyles’. Cats like to go out at night and so it’s best to at least leave a window or a cat flap open for them. If they still irritate you, then just don’t let animals into your room. They can also be responsible for sudden flea infestations, which can keep you awake.
• Speaking of animals, ever heard of counting sheep?
• I’ve heard of more religious or spiritual types falling asleep while or after they’ve said their prayers.
• If mosquitoes, said to be the children of witches, are the problem, then try putting on some tabard or another repellant. You can try these bug-zappers and traps, but one thing that I find works, is to put out tomato halves at night on a plate. They can’t resist it, and I’ve found dead mosquitoes on the plate when I’ve woken up in the morning. Maybe it was something they ate…
• You can also try a mosquito net.
• If the problem is ants, then make sure you don’t leave anything that you’ve just eaten by the bed. The thing with ants is that they can keep you awake for numerous reasons.
1) The smell- they always smell just like soil that is wet after heavy rain.
2) They sting.
3) The feeling of having them around will keep you awake.
• If you must have something to drink during the night, then make sure it’s water or something without sugar, as ants go after anything sweet.
• If the problem is flies, then try hanging fly strips in the room, away from the bed. They tend to smell awful if directly in the sun. They do work, though.
• If it is stress, anxiety or depression that’s causing loss of sleep, perhaps just try talking about it to someone, whether it’s a therapist or even a friend. Getting something off of your chest is better than holding it inside and punishing yourself.
The correct position for sleeping
The proper way to sleep is to sleep on your side, back straight, with your head on your pillow, with one arm up and under the pillow, in front of your head. The other arm can rest on your side or on the bed. Your legs must be pulled up towards your chest so they are close to forming an L shape, with another pillow between your knees.
It’s similar to the foetal position, but not quite – you aren’t trying to make yourself into a ball.
• Sometimes the mental side of stress can spread to your physical body. In this case, try tensing and relaxing all of your muscles and limbs right from your neck down to your toes. Flex and relax them all a few times. Massage your shoulders and do some stretching as well.
• Don’t drink anything with caffeine, like coffee, before you go to bed. Not only will it perk you up, but it's a diuretic which will make you urinate more often than usual.
• If there’s something on your mind that you need to remember, write it down or else you risk staying awake the whole night trying to remember.
• Get rid of any sexual urges before going to sleep.
• It might be physical pain that keeps you awake. Try taking a painkiller, which will help with dulling the pain and putting you to sleep.
• If it’s an irritation like eczema or flea or mosquito bites, try putting some of Ingram’s Camphor Cream or something similar on to sooth it.
• Try meditation or other relaxation techniques.
• Try breathing techniques; slow deep breaths.
• Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis can help you sleep and maintain good sleeping patterns.
• Try to think happy thoughts. The more you dwell on something negative, the harder it will be to sleep.
• Say to yourself, “I’ll worry tomorrow.” Make it your priority to sleep, but don’t overdo it, otherwise it becomes stressful.
• If you can’t sleep after thirty minutes of having turned out the light, turn it back on and read or do something that will relax you.
• Being too time-conscious will keep you awake. It might be nice to be able to see the clock at night with its bright red numbers, but if you find yourself continually looking at it, then rather settle for a plain analogue alarm clock, or cover up the clock until morning.
• Try sleeping in different positions. Sleeping on your side is probably best and putting a pillow under your knees is supposed to make it seem more comfortable.
• Sleeping alone will generally yield better results, particularly for men. Partners in the same bed can keep you awake with annoying habits and sleep patterns, among other reasons.
• If you are one who sleeps at their chair, in their car, on the sofa or on the floor, it’s not really all that comfortable. Rather sleep on a comfortable bed with a supportive pillow and mattress. They say that one of the chief reasons why people can't sleep is because of the pillow they use. If you have a proper pillow that supports the head and neck areas, then you will find you will be much more comfortable, and that will lead to quality sleep.
"Six hours sleep for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool."— Napoleon Bonaparte
How do you sleep?
© 2008 Anti-Valentine