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Sleep Health-What Helps You Sleep

Updated on February 15, 2014

Getting comfortable for bedtime

Sleepy time ritual: bath, PJ's  and comfy slippers
Sleepy time ritual: bath, PJ's and comfy slippers | Source

Good Sleep Habits are Important

Sleep is an important part of our health.
Sleep is an important part of our health. | Source

What is a circadian rhythm?

Do you have difficulty falling asleep? Do you awaken in the wee hours and stay awake? Are you tired throughout the day? You may be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, or stay sleeping under normal circumstances.

Just like the tides in the ocean, the body has a circadian rhythm it follows moving from sleep to wakefulness, and back to sleep. The cycle may vary with each individual, but in normal circumstances there is a natural period of time in which we begin to feel sleepy and desire rest.

When this cycle is interrupted our ability to fall asleep is hampered. When this continues over a period of time, not only do we lose sleep, but we also build a pattern. Much like the ruts made on a dirt road from traffic, the brain begins to recognize, and resort to, a memory of interrupted sleep.

Insomniacs run the risk of health problems. It is not normal to be awake all day and all evening. Even if one rests during the day time the interruption of nighttime sleep moves against a natural rhythm. Therefore, it is imperative to investigate the causes for the insomnia and come to a healthy resolution.

Falling asleep after eating

Snoring doesn't mean you are getting a good sleep
Snoring doesn't mean you are getting a good sleep | Source

Healthy tips for what will make you sleep

Good sleep is a well practiced habit. If you want to sleep well you must examine what the obstacles are and remove or reverse them. Some may be obvious, while others may be more subtle. For example, if you are taking a stimulant just before bed the chemicals will wire you, so the obvious thing is to cut out the stimulant. Caffeine is a typical, ordinary stimulant which can block the natural cycle for sleepiness. Cut out coffee, colas and energy drinks at least five hours before bedtime and over a period of cleansing the toxin from your body observe whether the effects offer noticeable improvement for sleep.

Some not so obvious examples are: harried thoughts or life style that keep us hyper vigilant at bedtime; racing thoughts as we attempt to fall asleep grinding away at us; what we did not complete during the day; conflicts that may have occurred during the day, etc. The grocery list in our heads can go on and on into the wee hours of the morning if we allow it to. One resolution is to practice putting the ‘closed’ sign on the door of your mind as you enter your bedroom.

Other healthy tips for good sleep include: stop exercising at least two hours before bedtime; eating lightly or refraining from any food two hours before you sleep; getting fresh air and exercise each day, preferably towards evening; refraining from any deep, emotional discussions just before bed; sipping a cup of warm milk before bed; engaging in a slow, relaxed breath while releasing any tense muscles as you lay on your bed; taking a warm shower or relaxing bath with candle light and soft music just before retiring; and refraining from watching the late version of local or world news; taking an over the counter herbal supplement such as menatonin may also assist someone to sleep.

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, get the proper equipment which may help your breathing through the night. If you are obese and experience acid reflux or heart burn, sit up in a recliner to sleep or prop yourself up in your bed. If you are supposed to take medications for your condition do not skip them or stop taking them. Your doctor has prescribed them to enhance your living despite your condition.

If you wake in the middle of the night fall back into the relaxation breath work and check if your mind has ignored the ‘closed’ sign returning to a rapid, negative self talk mode. Then, if it continues, get up briefly to read, listen to soft music and make an attempt to return to bed after an hour.

If you wake in the early morning try ‘fooling’ your body by going to bed a bit later in the evening to see if you extend your sleep time. And, refrain from napping during the day. Again, examine and write in your sleep journal whether you are actually experiencing disturbing thoughts. If all else fails, get up, do something quiet such as meditation, yoga, or stretches and note if this will ‘quiet’ the body and mind.

Everyone deserves a good sleep. It is essential for our mental clarity and our health.

Helpful Sleep Aids

Company or product name
Contour foam pillows
Serta gel-memory classic
Sleep Better Iso-Cool
Sleep Innovation Cool Contour
Therapeutica sleep Pillow
Sleep Masks
Decreases the light
Day Dream Baskic Sleep Mask
Dream Essentials Sleep Mask
Ear Plugs
Decreases noise
Dream Essentials
Meditation and relaxation
Deep Sleep and Relaxation
Relaxing scents for sheets
Bath&Body Works sleep pillow mist: Lavender & Vanilla, 4 oz.
Bath Products
Relaxing scents for baths
Bath&Body Works: Foam Bodywash, Lavender, Chamomile, Honey
Medicinal Aids
natural or prescription
Doctor or Drug store
Herbal Drinks
helps for relaxation
Celestial Seasonings: Sleepytime
13.95/40 ct box
Technical Aids
enhances sleep environment
Conair SU1W Sound Therapy
Conair Relaxation Clock Radio
Homedics Envirascape
Marpac Dohm Sound Conditioner

Poll about insomnia:

Do you suffer from insomnia?

See results

Sound Therapy for sleep problems

How to get to sleep faster

1. Don’t consume caffeine products for several hours before sleep.

2. Do not eat a heavy meal just prior to going to bed.

3. Engage in a bedtime routine that encourages relaxation: hot shower or bath; playing soft music; reading; meditation or relaxation breath work.

4. Avoid exercising one – two hours before bed.

5. Avoid arguments or conflicts with others just prior to sleeping.

6. Do not watch the late night news that may show disturbing information or film coverage.

7. Don’t bring your worries to bed with you at night-let your mind release any concerns.

YouTube: How to fall asleep fast


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello nArchuleta-what a beautiful name. I'm glad my hub offered some tips for you on getting a better sleep. One of the things that my patients complain most about is the 'racing mind' syndrome at bedtime. Yes, if you have tough situations that you ponder about at night, do use the journal. I would suggest that you sit up in a chair for that, out of your bed. Then, once you are in bed lay on your back and do the relaxation breathing. Slow in thru the nose-hold for 2-3 sec-slow out thru the mouth with pursed lips as if blowing out a candle. Imagine the breath like a slow wave coming off of the ocean onto the shore; it touches the sand and stays there for a moment, then slowly retreats. Then, once you have the slow breathing down start your awareness on your muscle tension within the body. Relax all muscles on the EXhale of your breath. I hope that helps. Please let me know how successful your 'taming of the night mind' is. :)

      Hi Nell, I just had that conversation about wine with my sister this week. I love red, don't like the effects of white, so I avoid it. Wine at night is good up to a point and then it loses its restful sleep effects. I forget what happens exactly, but the brain doesn't go into the deep sleep mode when the effects wear off. Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the 'family photos' ha ha. My son in law (daddy to the little one with the moose slippers) is a top notch SNORER! and after a big meal his is out-no matter if he is at home or visiting. Certainly not a healthy situation, but thankfully he has lost some weight. BTW-I drink an organic red wine now and it is wonderful!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Great hub denise, and I love your photos! lol! I have a glass of wine and it also has to be red! hate white wine, shudder! lol!

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 

      7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Wow, what an insightful Hub. I hate to admit it, but some nights all that stops my racing mind is a glass of red wine. Better if I journal the thoughts away... Thanks for sharing!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Marlene-thanks for your feedback. I love lavender in the bedroom, also. Those little slippers are my grandson's and I couldn't resist taking a picture of them at Christmas. :)

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      I suffer from insomnia sometimes, so I am always interested in reading what people have to say about getting to sleep. Your hub is filled with lots of helpful information. I like using lavender and the sound machine to blot out extra noise. The video has some greater tips, too. P. S. I love the slippers.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi dghbrh-glad you found the article helpful and that you get a good rest. I haven't always been able to fall asleep or stay asleep. However, I'm sleeping great since I was finally put on a day shift. :) That makes a huge difference! Thanks for the share and votes.

      Hi MarieAlana1-that's funny about the matching pajamas. I love how little children look after bath time-all snug and sleepy in their 'jammies'. Thanks for reading.

    • MarieAlana1 profile image

      Marie Alana 

      7 years ago from Ohio

      Get that precious sleep! My little one has those exact pajamas and loves them as well.

    • dghbrh profile image


      7 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Nice hub. A most modern day concern of many out there. Thanks to God but I am always full of sleep. Shared and voted up useful.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Annamie Cureteyz-thank you for reading this article and leaving a comment. It was a challenge, but the darkness was just as challenging! Thanks for your well wishes.

    • profile image

      Annamie Cureteyz 

      7 years ago

      This is a good share and deserves to be shared :) . Wow, sleeping with that 24-hour Alaskan light, that must be challenging, but good thing you handled that well and may you have your deep sleep always :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow-that's great, Matt. Thanks for reading. I hope you aren't suffering from insomnia on a regular basis?

    • Matt Stark profile image

      Matt Stark 

      8 years ago from Albany, CA

      Thanks for the great info. That Delta Sleep System CD is great, I have had it for years.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Amy-thanks for reading and commenting. You've got a lot of nice hubs I've just started reading. Sleep well, LOL

    • amybradley77 profile image


      9 years ago

      Good work, and useful I like alot of your suggestions here. I hope to start using more of some of this advise myself, but I sleep well enough for now. I will do it when I see a real need for it though. Thanks again. A.B.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Glad to help acaetnna. Let me know if you notice any difference in your sleep with any of the changes you implement.

    • acaetnna profile image


      9 years ago from Guildford

      This is so very useful Denise, thank you. I shall bookmark this because it is a great reference hub for me. Voted up.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi B-I use earplugs regularly-it works!

      Boston-thanks for stopping in to read and comment.

      Hello Ann! Yes, we are hanging in there aren't we. Honostly, your words ring true. The ONLY reason I survived four years of midnight shift is because of my insomniac patterns. Thanks for the read.

    • annmackiemiller profile image


      9 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      the only up-side to insomnia is the amount of work I can get done! Another great lens Denise - we'll make it to the 30 in 30 yet

    • Bostonfamily profile image


      9 years ago

      Good advice which I should take since I can get insomonia quite often.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      9 years ago

      Wonderful Hub on the subject...very informative, with lots of good advise. In order for me to get a good nights sleep (which for me is 5-6 Hours, weekends longer) I do need to use "ear plugs". Thanks for sharing this Hub with us!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Good morning Tim and Carrie. It's early morning and I had NO problem sleeping last night, LOL. Actually, Tim, I wrote all about the sound and the light in my first VERY LONG draft and editted it out. Had to cut corners somewhere.

      When I was living in Alaska back in 2001-2004 the man I was living with was just that person you mentioned-sensitive to EVERYTHING. We had to cover the windows tight to keep that Alaskan 24 hour light out and he introduced me to using ear plugs during my sleep, which I often use to this day.

      Thanks for your comments. Have a good day.

    • carrie450 profile image


      9 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      Very good advice Denise. Sleep is so important in this busy world.

    • timorous profile image

      Tim Nichol 

      9 years ago from Me to You

      Oh..such a very good hub, Denise. I think you've pretty much covered it all. The only other suggestion I can think of is that some people have trouble sleeping if there's any source of light at all, or there's some fairly constant noise, like a fridge or a furnace going. Others can sleep right through such things.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! How do you do it? You must have a buzzer set that goes off whenever I hit 'publish'. LOL Thanks so much for your ongoing support and comments. Beautiful poetry, BTW. I've enjoyed reading some this eve.

    • richtwf profile image


      9 years ago

      Sleep such an important restorative process which our bodies need and an activity in which we spend about a third of our life time!

      An excellent hub Denise with great tips and advice for anyone who is finding it hard to sleep - Great job.

      Keep going and God bless!


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