ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips for a Restful Sleep

Updated on January 5, 2010

How Not to Lose your Snooze...

It's no secret that Americans do not get enough quality sleep. The average American citizen gets by on less than 5 hours of sleep per night, and we are expected to run on all 12 cylinders every day though we are physically exhausted. Because of the constant stress we are under, we have a hard time sleeping, and because we are sleep-deprived, we are more prone to stress. It's an ugly, never-ending cycle that results in all sorts of health problems. Hypertension, weakened immune system, diabetes, heart disease, exhaustion and certain types of cancer can all be traced back to a lack of sleep, but why then is it so hard for us to get a full nights sleep?

Compartmentalize your life. I know that many professional psychiatrists say to do just the opposite, but when in comes to sleep, we need to learn to stuff our worries into a box and put a lid on it for eight hours or so. The number one reason most people give for why they don't sleep well is that they are worrying about things they need to get done the following day. People also have a bad habit of allowing disagreements and arguments to keep them up at night. Instead of allowing stressful thoughts to ruin your chance of being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning, try this exercise:

Close your eyes and imagine an open box. Every thought that could possibly keep you awake, imagine placing it into the box. That report that's due tomorrow - put it in the box. The fight you had with your nieghbor - put it in the box. Every negative situation in your life needs to go into that box, and once they're all in there, put the lid on it and imagine writing the word "tomorrow" on the top. Now, don't even Think about going back to that box until morning!

If you take this exercise seriously then your mind will be free to think about fluffy clouds and dandelions. Hopefully you can drift off to sleep now, but if not, keep reading.

Build a fort. You may remember how to build a fort from when you were a child, but if not, don't stress. You know all those decorative "throw" pillows that you throw on the floor when you tuck in for the night? Use them to build a nice little fort. Don't laugh! Evolution has taught us that as mammals, we have a subconcious desire to find a protective den from the elements and from other creatures. Shelter isn't just about staying warm - it's also to develop a sense of security. Get creative with your fort! when I was a kid, I used to build "hammock" forts on the lower bunkbed by tying my sheets to the top bed supports, and there were many times I would fall asleep before bed time simply because I was nested up in my fort. Now that I'm an adult, the most extensive my forts will get are a few extra pillows on either side of me. Still, those few extra pillows give me a content safe feeling that make it that much easier to doze off.

Chill out. Warm-blooded animals have a biological response to cold weather - they hibernate. Hibernation is a metabolic process in which the body's need to burn calories decreases and certain systems within the body start to slow down. Heart-rate and body temperature reduce slightly (though not enough to be any danger), and this creates a lethargic feeling. Like animals, humans tend to get sleepy in colder weather. When you're having trouble sleeping, try turning the air conditioner down a few degrees or turn on a fan. Don't worry about being too cold - simply nest into that fort you built earlier. Only a small percentage of your body has to be in contact with the cold (face, hands) in order for the lethargy to kick in, and because the body slows down more in the cold, you're less likely to toss and turn yourself awake.

How many hours of uninterupted sleep are you getting each night?

See results

Bring the noise. Some people have a really hard time getting to sleep when it's too quiet (I'm one of those people), so a little ambient noise might do the trick and help you sleep better. The first sound that you ever heard was your mother's heartbeat, and even after being born, you most likely associated her heartbeat with comfort and security. Have you ever seen the magic of a fussy baby being lulled off to sleep in its mother's arms? Of course the older we get, we learn to associate other sounds with comfort as well. Some prefer the sounds of waves, others some light classical music. The sounds of rain forests, wind pipes talk radio and even thunderstorms are other favorites among the "slumberly-challenged." If you experience difficulty falling asleep when its 100% quiet, try turning the radio on a low volume and chances are that you'll be drifting off to snoozeville before you know it.

Melatonin - the Prince of Darkness. Melatonin is the naturally occuring hormone in our bodies that regulates our skin color as well as our sleep patterns. Melatonin reacts to the vitamin D in our bodies to make us feel sleepy when the sun goes down (the majority of our vitamin D comes from exposure to the sunlight), but unfortunately many of us don't get to spend enough time outdoors resulting in a vitamin D deficiency. This drop in our vitamin D levels can leave us exhausted yet unable to fall asleep. How then, can we get a natural good-night's sleep without resorting to prescription sleep-aids? Melatonin. Available in capsule form at almost any grocery store with a pharmacy, this naturally derived supplement will help you fall asleep naturally without any notable side effects. Unlike other perscription sleep-aids, melatonin doesn't tend to leave you feeling "hung-over" the next day and is not at all addictive. Melatonin begins to work when your body is deprived of any light source, thus earning the nickname "prince of darkness." Scientifically speaking, any light (be it natural or man-made) contains vitamin D, and when that source is extinguished, the melatonin is released from the hippothalamus resulting in decreased heart-rate, natural muscle relaxation and overall lethargy. As long as your body has a good supply of melatonin, once asleep you should slumber peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed and alive. Melatonin is a huge part of our evolutionary make-up, as it allowed us to stay awake during the day when it was easier to hunt and to burrow in at night when the predators tended to be out. Melatonin is also used to battle the effects of jet-lag and used properly can help ward off certain cancers and heart-disease. While no overdose of melatonin has ever been documented, it is not to be abused. Used in higher than recommended doses can result in liver damage, gastro-intestinal problems and jaundice of the skin. Melatonin should also be used with care when operating machinary or driving.

Hypnotize yourself. This one's kind of like counting sheep... except that it works. Hypnotism is not at all as difficult as it may sound; you simply have to learn to clear your mind enough to focus on a rythmic hypnotic action. Try this one:

Close your eyes and start taking deep cleansing breaths. Imagine a grandfather clock with a swinging pendulum. Don't allow any other thoughts or images into your mind or this excercise won't work. Focus on the bottom of the pendulum as it swings from the left to the right. Slowly start to let go of the image of the grandfather clock and simply see the pendulum swinging from the left to the right and back again. Start to watch the pendulum slowing down but still moving from the left to the right and back again. Allow the rocking motion to become part of you. Allow it to become you. Allow the slowly swinging pendulum to start to fade out completely. As the image of the pendulum fades out, realize that you're still that swinging pendulum. Eventually, the only thing left in your mind will be the feeling that you are a slowly swinging pendulum. Allow yourself to swing even slower. Slower, until you're completely asleep...

If you learn to do this excercise perfectly, you should be able to put yourself to sleep every single time. Realize that just like with any form of hypnotism, caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants can diminish the effectiveness of this technique.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sifan profile image


      8 years ago from The Little Planet

      I'm happy you get better sleep now. When you are stressed, it's hard to sleep well. If you are physically tired, you will easily get a good sleep.

    • Delaney Boling profile imageAUTHOR

      Delaney Boling 

      8 years ago

      Thank you Sifan! Hopefully some of these techniques can help you get better sleep. I wrote this hub because I used to get terrible insomnia and started having health problems because of it. I went through the whole war-chest of sleep remedies before a Doctor told me about these techniques. With an alternating schedule of melatonin and valerian root combined with self-hypnosis and relaxation exercises, I "trained" myself back into normal sleep patterns. These techniques can work.

    • Sifan profile image


      8 years ago from The Little Planet

      I really need this for now since I'm sleeping very late for my new hobbies on HubPages every night and hard to sleep in the morning as it's such a cold winter this year!!! Thanks for your hubs and your comments on my Valentine's cake recipe!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Great helpful and informative hub. Thanks!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)