Tips for Better Sleep
Do You Have Problems Sleeping?
For too many people, sleeping better is a dream that is just out of reach. After many nights of tossing and turning, unable to get a good night's sleep, people are excessively sleepy during the day. This can cause problems such as falling asleep at work or even while driving.
Over a long period of time, lack of sufficient sleep can result in such diverse health problems as depression, heart attack and stroke. Sleep disturbance has even been linked to Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
For all of these reasons, it is important to find ways to sleep better rather than just suffering through insomnia or other issues. I have experienced sleeping problems for many years and now my doctor is telling me I need to learn to manage my sleep hygiene better to avoid other health problems.
Here are some of the tips for better sleep my doctor gave me. Maybe they will help you too!
My Doctor's Prescription for Better Sleep - Just Two Big Tips!
- Take melatonin at suppertime. I end up taking it before I go to bed, and I think it is miraculous how well it works. Try it!
- Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, even days off. This helps a lot!
The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep - A Book to Help You Sleep Better
For those who want a more in-depth guide to sleeping better, I recommend this book. Dr. Lawrence Epstein, from Harvard Medical School, takes you through a proven six-step plan to improve your sleep.
Maximize your nights and energize your days. Understand the health benefits of sleep and identifies signs of sleep problems as Dr. Epstein gives in-depth advice on how to:
Turn your bedroom into the optimal sleep environment
Finally overcome insomnia
Silence buzz-saw snoring
Relax restless legs
Deal with daytime exhaustion
Determine if sleep medication is right for you
Improve your sleep by improving your child's sleep
Sleeping Better Poll I
Do you have problems sleeping?
Update: I am Sleeping Better! - June 30, 2012
Three months have passed since I first wrote this article. Since then I have been sleeping better. A lot better!
I am feeling more alert and energetic. I still cannot say my memory is much improved. I am hoping it will just take more time.
Here are the steps I have taken that have helped me get a better night sleep.
- Going to bed at about the same time every night.
- Getting up at about the same time every morning.
- A window air conditioner installed in my bedroom. This has probably been the biggest help to my sleeping. It completely drowns out the sound of the trains that had been waking me up for the past eight years.
- Melatonin before bed. This stuff is amazing! I do not know how much is the correct dose. I take 5 milligrams at bedtime and it does the trick. I have read if you take more than you need, your body just throws it out.
- Eliminate anything that stimulates the brain at night. I turn the computer off, turn the lights down. No television. No reading. If I get up to use the bathroom, I leave the lights off. I do not allow myself to think about anything. No problem-solving. No planning. Definitely no worrying! I imagine a pleasant scene in my mind and stay relaxed.
The Melatonin that Helped Me Sleep Better
This is the brand of melatonin I have been taking the past three months. It helped me the first night I took it, and it has worked well every night since.
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the brain to produce sleep. It is completely natural. Anything your body does not need, it eliminates. This makes it completely safe to take.
I like this brand because it does not include artificial ingredients, dyes or preservatives. It is just a simple, white pill with no taste at all.
In my opinion, if you have sleep problems it is worth it to try a bottle of pills that costs less than ten dollars. Talk to your doctor first, of course. Imagine how much better you could feel for less than five bucks a month!
This is a product that has changed my life for a very small amount of money!
A Few More Things that have Helped me to Sleep Better over the Years
I have struggled with insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness for the past twelve or thirteen years. Usually I can fall asleep without too much problem, because I am exhausted. My problem is that I wake up about 3:00 am and cannot go back to sleep.
I have tried a lot of things to improve my sleep. Here are some of them. Maybe one of them will work for you!
- Cut back on caffeine. This seems to be helpful to me. I often use caffeine to keep myself going through the day, but if I can cut back to just one cup of coffee or tea first thing in the morning I do seem to sleep better the following night. Another problem is that caffeinated beverages irritate the bladder, and I found when I was consuming a lot of them that I was up several times in the night to go to the bathroom. Since cutting back to just one cup of coffee and then drinking water the rest of the day, I am able to eliminate my middle of the night trips to the potty.
- Cut out naps. I used to take a nap every afternoon. It felt so good, and I fell asleep easily. The problem was that I discovered those naps were interfering with being able to sleep at night. I slept better when I did not have those naps, so I had to cut that out.
- White noise. I think this may help me, but I am not certain. I like the soothing sound of a fan in the bedroom, but I usually still wake up. I have a sense that it may lull me into a deeper sleep during the times that I do sleep. There is no way to prove this. It is cheap to try it and easy to reverse if you do not like it.
- Cool temperature in the bedroom. Many experts recommend having your bedroom temperature cooler. There is a physiological reason for this. When your body temperature drops in the evening, it induces sleep. I blocked the heating duct to my bedroom and installed a ceiling fan. I noticed an improvement in sleep after both of these actions. Some nights I have to pile on the blankets and wear cozy pajamas, but I still sleep better than when my bedroom was hot and I was wearing a t-shirt and sleeping under a thin sheet.
- A hot bath before bed. I did this for a while, but heat seems to affect a medical condition I have. It did seem helpful in terms of relaxing, so if heat does not bother you I recommend giving it a try. You might wish to add some aromatherapy to the bath to increase your relaxation.
- Crossword puzzles. I love to read and had a habit of going to bed and reading. I discovered that many times I was staying up reading an interesting book when I should be sleeping. When I did not read I found I would worry instead. I was going through a divorce and had two children I was worried about, finances were always a problem and I did not know how we would make it. I found if I focused on working a crossword puzzle, it took my mind off my problems but was not interesting enough to keep me awake. I had the crossword habit for quite a few years and it got me through many rough nights.
- Use the bed only for sleep and sex. I think this is good advice, but I have to read and work crossword puzzles in bed. Maybe I would sleep better if I got rid of those activities, but I may never know. I cannot imagine eliminating relaxing in bed with a book or a puzzle. I did remove the television from my bedroom many years ago and that was helpful for sleeping.
Sleeping Better Poll II
Which stimulus would interfere the most with getting a good night's sleep?
More Books to Help You Sleep Better
Here are a few more books you might find helpful in dealing with sleep problems. All of these books are highly recommended by people who have experienced sleeping difficulties.
This one seems particularly helpful for people like me who suffer from anxiety and nagging thoughts during the night.
A six-week program to overcome insomnia. Great for people who like to have a plan to follow.
Create your own customized sleep therapy program. For those with chronic insomnia or people who only experience sleep problems from time to time.
Sounds to Help You Sleep Better
I love a variety of CDs that I sometimes play at night to help me sleep better. These CDs really work well for me. I find it helps to switch them around from time to time, as the effect seems to wear off after I have used one for a while. Having a variety on hand keeps it fresh and prevents my brain from tuning them out.
This is a nice one that just sounds like rain falling. It is very relaxing and reminds me of camping or sleeping out on a screened porch on a rainy afternoon.
Click through to hear a sample of the relaxing rain sound you get with this CD.
More Sounds to Help You Sleep Better
Another benefit of using these relaxing CDs to help you sleep better is the white noise effect they have of blocking out other sounds. If you are bothered by traffic noise, neighbors or jets flying over your house, playing one of these CDs in your bedroom can be helpful in creating a more peaceful environment for sleep.
Since everyone is different, choose sounds that appeal to you. The links below will take you to a page where you can listen to samples and purchase the CDs or MP3 versions if you like. You can be sleeping better tonight!
Scientifically designed to promote sleep through the development of a delta brainwave state.
I really like the relaxing musical sounds on this CD.
Very relaxing music to lull you into a deep and restful sleep.
Sleeping Better Poll III
Are you bothered by environmental noises at night?
My Dream Sound Machine - I am pretty sure I would sleep better with one of these!
I want one of these amazing little machines! This is the white noise machine of my dreams!
Not only does this guy have ten different sounds to choose from, it actually adjusts itself to any sounds that occur in the environment to prevent you from hearing them.
I loved the descriptions on this baby, but it was reading the reviews that really convinced me I needed one. This may be the coolest, and most effective, sleep gadget on the market today! This is at the top of my wish list!
White Noise to Help You Sleep Better
If environmental sounds are keeping you awake, try white noise. These machines emit a whooshing sound that absorbs other sound frequencies, blocking them from your hearing. Many people find these machines create a peaceful environment that helps them get a better night's sleep.
Over 1,300 people have given this white noise machine five stars! Wow!
This sound conditioner is available in double- or single-speed styles. We have tried both. The DS model has a softer and a louder setting. I only ever seem to need the softer setting. It is sufficient to block the sounds that come from outside my house including train whistles and aircraft flying over the house. If you live in an apartment with noisy neighbors you might benefit from the dual-speed model.
More White Noise to Help You Sleep Better
A small and compact white noise machine designed especially for travelers. Three sound levels: rain, waterfall and surf.
For 99 cents you may be able to solve your sleep problems by tonight! This is available as an MP3 download. Have a listen and give it a try!
Update: Naps May Help Excessive Daytime Sleepiness - July 31, 2012
Today my friend showed me this short video that explains how naps might be helpful for people with Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. I have been struggling with this again. I nod off almost anywhere. I even fell asleep in the noisy music store during my daughter's drum lesson!
I am going to give this napping method a try, since it turns out I have been doing it wrong! I'll let you know in a few weeks how it turns out.
- I've Been Napping the Wrong Way My Entire Life! Thank You, Science!
It's official: Science says naps are the greatest thing on Earth. But are you napping correctly?
Try Upgrading Your Pillow to Help You Sleep Better
If you are bothered by hot flashes or nightsweats, you might want to try a cooling pillow. This one has favorable reviews and is helping people sleep better.
The company offers a 30-day guarantee, so you can try the pillow and send it back for a refund if you don't like it.