Twelve Tips to a Better Night’s Sleep

So, here you are again. You’re lying in bed – awake. You feel tired, but you can’t get to sleep. “What’s the point”, you ask yourself. “Once I get to sleep I won’t stay that way.”

Day in and day out, you’re exhausted at work and can’t stay focused because you’re never able to get enough sleep and can never seem to get unbroken sleep. Many people have the same problem. So, what’s the answer to your sleeping problems?

There’s no definitive solution; however, the majority of sleep problems come from habits that people have developed that actually inhibit sleep. Also stress is a major contributor.

Unfortunately often times we can’t reduce our activities, such as work, to reduce stress, but we can change our daily habits and lifestyle to help us get a better night’s sleep.

Here are some helpful tips.

1. Exercise: Exercising regularly is a healthy practice anyway, but it reduces stress and expends energy; two things that will help you get a better night’s sleep.

Make sure that you don’t exercise too close to bedtime as exercising may invigorate you and wake you up rather than relax you.

If you exercise in the morning or early afternoon, you would have already expended the energy and have had ample time to wind down.

2. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol: Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and though smokers feel that nicotine calms them before bed, it actually winds you up a bit.

Caffeine is a huge contributor to interrupted sleeping patterns because it’s a major stimulant and can stay in your system for hours. On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant and definitely can help you fall asleep. The problem with alcohol is that it can cause a disruption in your sleeping pattern a couple of hours after you fall asleep.

So, it’s best to avoid alcohol right before bedtime.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything with caffeine such as coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.

If you’re a smoker and can help it, make your last cigarette about an hour or two before bedtime and if you prefer to have an alcoholic beverage in the evening, make it about two hours or more before you plan on going to bed.

3. Develop a sleeping routine: Developing a sleeping routine may take a little time. You want to come up with a sleeping schedule that not only fits in with your daily activities, but that you’re comfortable with and that works for you.

If you can sleep straight through the night and this works for you, then you can plan your sleeping patterns around that. Some people have trouble sleeping through the night no matter what they try. If this is the case, then take that into account with your sleeping routine. Don’t fight it. Sleep for a few hours and get up for an hour or two and go back to bed.

Also, it’s best to keep the same sleeping routine, even on the weekends if possible. This way your body will be adjusted to it and you essentially will get a better night’s sleep.

4. Give yourself some time to wind down: About an hour before your bedtime, start a wind down routine that may include brushing your teeth, and washing your face. Watch something relaxing on television or read a magazine or book.

Make sure that whatever activities that you choose to partake during this time that it’s something that you will be willing to stop at bedtime.

You don’t want to get into a great book that you can’t set down bed.

5. Eat a light snack: Sometimes if you go to bed on an empty stomach, or even a partially empty stomach, this can keep you awake or wake you later in the middle of the night.

However, if you eat something too heavy, it can sit in your stomach like a ton of bricks. It’s a good idea to eat a light snack during your wind down time in the evening.

6. Don’t drink too much fluid: When you think about it, this tip makes perfect sense, but most people don’t make a conscious connection here. If you drink too much fluid before bed, you will wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom.

Since everyone’s system is a little different, you may have to experiment with how long you should go without fluids. Of course, as most people do, make sure that you go to the bathroom right before bed.

7. Meditate: You may find that meditating during your wind down time or even some other time during the day will help you sleep better. As stated previously, a large contribution to disrupted sleeping patterns is stress.

If you can meditate to relieve some stress or relax yourself right before bedtime, you may find that there will be an improvement in your sleeping patterns.

8. Make sure your bedroom is a suitable environment: Your bedroom should be dark and quiet. If there is a lot of background noise for whatever reason, you may want to try using earplugs.

If you have a job where you work at night and must sleep during the day, you may want to get some dark colored blinds for your windows or get a sleeping blindfold to cover you eyes.

9. Your room should be a comfortable room temperature: It’s certainly difficult to sleep if your room is too hot or too cold, so make a conscious effort in the evening to get your bedroom ready by making sure that it’s a suitable temperature before you go to bed.

You may have to experiment to see what temperate is best for you when sleeping.

10. Make sure your bed is comfortable: You want to be sure not only that your mattress and pillows are comfortable for you, but also that your bedding is comfortable. You don’t want to sleep with sheets that are too itchy, for example.

Also, you should make sure that your bed isn’t too large or small for you. This can also contribute to discomfort.

11. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed: When you go to bed and find that you’re having difficulty, give yourself about 15 minutes to fall asleep. In that time period, if you’re unable to fall asleep, get up and do something relaxing for about 15 to 30 minutes.

Then try to fall asleep again.

12. Bed is for sleeping: Make sure that you refrain from doing other activities in bed aside from sleeping and sex. If you make it a practice to watch television or read in bed, then your subconscious won’t know what time it is when you’re ready to go to sleep.

However, if your bed is only for sleeping and sex, then when you go to bed, your subconscious will automatically relax.

If these steps don’t help your sleeping, you should consult a doctor.

Avoid taking any sleeping medications, even over the counter medications, without first consulting your doctor.

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  1. Bed is for sleeping….are you sure?