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Get a better night's sleep - tips that work

Updated on April 23, 2013

A good nights sleep is so very important as it sets the tone for our whole day. Who wants to suffer through yet another day when you are just plain old exhausted. There can be many reasons why you cannot get a good night sleep, and some of them include;

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Depression
  • Travel - time zone differences
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Pain
  • Shift work

What I do when I have sleep problems, and everyone does at some point is look at what is different about my day to day. If I could not find a cause by just reflecting then I would go to my doctor and seek his/her guidance.

Get serious about sleep

We spend 1/3 of our lives asleep so it is very much a major function of our biology. Too many times people have too much to do, and somehow think they can add more time to their day by cutting down on sleep. While that may work in the short term it can cause you to fall into what is known as sleep debt.

Sleep debt or sleep deficit is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. Sleep debt may lead to mental and/or physical fatigue. The diagram below shows the ill effects caused by this condition.


Exercising for a better night's sleep

I find that when I exercise more I do tend to sleep more soundly. It doesn't have to be anything strenuous, something as easy as a walk after dinner to help aid in digestion and too work off some stress and pounds is sufficient. If however you want to increase your overall health by adding some real physical activity like running, swimming, or weight training you may also reap the benefits of a more restful nights sleep.

A word of caution though. If you do go for a walk or plan to do some exercise, do not do it too soon before retiring as it will have the reverse effect and you will lie there awake. You need to give your body a reasonable amount of time to relax and unwind from your activities.

Some tips for a better night's sleep

Some tips for getting a good night sleep are to not do anything in your bed except sleeping and engaging in sex. This way your body is conditioned to sleep when it hits the sheets. You can also try keeping the room a little bit cooler, and the wearing of a sleep mask could also help.

Before falling asleep you can do some non-strenuous yoga stretches, meditation, or even read a bit. The idea is to relax the body and set the stage for sleeping. It is a good idea not to eat very soon before retiring. If you think caffeine could be the culprit then limit your intact after lunch.

Another thing people are doing is laying in bed worrying about their day to day. This leads to fitful sleep and being very restless all night long. Try not think about anything but sleeping while lying in bed. Try to imagine what you would like to dream about or just concentrate on your breathing. Believe it or not studies have shown that counting sheep is actually counter productive, so concentrate on your breathing instead. You can even try falling to sleep to one of those relaxing tapes that sound like rain, or the wind whistling through the trees.

Do not lie in your bed awake

If you can not sleep after lying in bed for 1/2 hour do not stay there torturing yourself. Get up and move around. Go to the living room and watch TV, or if you want stay in bed and read some more. Take a hot bath or a shower to relax. You just do not want to lie there stressing over not sleeping. Do something for another 1/2 hour and then try again.

Whatever you do, do not eat as this will not help, and getting into the habit of doing this will add inches to your waistline, and not add any time to makeup for your sleep deficit. In fact it will probably make it worse.

Make sleeping a priority

We need sleep. It is a necessary bodily function. If you are having a problem doing all you have to do then something has to give....but it should never be sleep. No matter how far we advance we still only have 24 hours a day and you must sleep 7-8 hours of them everyday to be in optimum shape.

Keep track of your sleeping habits and break any that are bad. Skip the temptation to stay up late and get one more thing done, because the next day you'll have less energy because of it, and you will be less affective than if you got a good full nights rest. Rest is the operative word. You want to recoup all the strength you extended during the previous day.

© Margaret Bennett

Interesting take on sleeping posture

5 stars for Get a better night's sleep - tips that work


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    • Maggie Bennett profile image

      Maggie Bennett 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks a lot. I also liked your post on you being a dreamer.

    • onegreenparachute profile image

      Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      A very thorough and informative hub Maggie. Thanks for the information. Voted up, useful and shared.