Have you started counting sheep in an attempt to get some much needed sleep? Do your eyes look like road maps, all red and lined? If they do, it’s obvious you are not getting enough sleep. A good night’s sleep is crucial for good health and well being. Unfortunately many people suffer from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and a host of ailments which interfere with their sleep pattern. In some cases relief is as simple as refraining from drinking caffeine laced drinks in the afternoon. But in other circumstances, stress, anxiety or even the clothes we wear can infringe on our sleep. Did you know that deprivation of sleep can lead to premature aging? Below is a list of different ways to get a better night’s sleep. Hopefully one of these suggestions may help you to have a good night’s sleep for a change.
1) Stick to a routine and no televison watching just prior to bedtime.
Heading to bed the same time each night gets the body into a routine. In many cases when we head to bed in the wee hours of the morning we become ‘over-tired.’ Ironic as it sounds, it happens frequently, we sit up watching television, head to bed after a good movie, turn the lights out and end up staring at the darkened ceiling instead of sleeping. This is because we have overcharged our minds, the drama played out on television often sits within the mind, subconsciously we often replay the plot etc. In other words we have become mentally hyped up.
2) Examine any underlying issues which may be playing on your mind.
Is work getting you down? Problems within your relationship/marriage? Find out the source of your worries and seek counselling if needed. Mental stress has a major impact on the quality of a person’s sleep. Mental fatigue is just as bad as physical fatigue, you will never have a good night’s sleep if something is playing havoc with your mind. Are there any particular things which concern you, play on your mind, sadden you or frighten you? Do you go to bed with these problems playing on your mind? If you have consistent worries get help to sort them out.
3) Listen to white noise/calming music:
The soothing sounds of nature calms a soul. Invest in some nature or relaxation DVDs. Be soothed to sleep by sweet bird symphonies, the sound of gentle wind rustling leaves on a tree and so forth. Listen to the lapping waves of the ocean or the crickets etc in a forest. Many people love to be lulled to sleep by genteel music, Brahm’s Lullaby is an all time favorite.
4) Avoid bedtime snacks, particulary sugar laced foods.
Sugar elevates the blood sugar levels and inhibits sleep. After a while when the sugar levels drops, it may become too low and lead to hypoglycemia which will have you awake all night.
5) Sleep in darkness:
Often too much light can disturb your sleep. Close all the blinds and curtains and wear a sleep mack if needed. Too much light can actually disrupt your circadian rhythm as well as your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and seratonin. Melatonin is deemed as a sleep aid, do not disturb it. If you need to use the bathroom at night do not turn any lights on unless needed. Purchase a very dim night light.
6) Room temperature can be of major importance:
If a room is too hot or too cold it can interfere with your sleep, have the room no hotter than 70 F. More often than not, rooms are far too hot.
7) Got cold feet?
If your feet are cold your subconcious mind knows this. Studies carried out actually proved the fact that if the feet are cold sleep is disturbed. Go to bed wearing thick warm socks. Feet have the poorest circulation so it is only logical that they are the more sensative area of the body.
8) Avoid the intake of alcohol:
Contrary to popular beliefs, alcohol can prevent you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep. Although it can cause drowsiness, it is very short lived. Therefore a person is woken open several times during the night. The body is then prohibited from doing its ritual of healing.
9) Lose Weight:
Sleep apnea is often cause from being overweight, if you can afford to lose a few kilos do so now and you will soon notice the difference. Sleeps apnea prevents a person from having a good night’s sleep.
10) Have a hot bath or shower prior to bed:
Hot baths and showers have the body temparature rising, when the temperature lowers again, it actually facilliates sleep.
11) Never go to bed angry:
Never head to the bedroom straight after an argument, listen to some calming music. Try to get into a happy frame of mind prior to bed. Attempt to sort out your differences with your partner or the person you have argued with. It’s a waste of time heading to the bedroom when you have an angered heart. Try thinking of things which make you happy. Watch a comedy movie, read a book of jokes. Try to remember a funny incident etc.
12) Backtrack to the very beginning:
Try to recall exatcly when you began to have sleeping problems.Perhaps that was when marriage problems raised its evil heads. Could it have been when your best friend passed away. If it was since you began a new job, perhaps there is far to much mental pressure on you. You may be drowning in responsibilities.
13) Get rid of the negatives:
Attempt to have a more positive attitude, it will make the world of difference to your sleeping pattern. A cheerful disposition goes a long way in lieu of settling you. Peace of mind leads to peace in the bedroom.
14) Is your bed comfortable:
Check that your mattress and pillow are not too soft or too hard. Ensure that you are not going to bed with too many pillows beneath your head. This can place pressure on the neck and shoulders making your body too uncomfortable. Too many blankets can disturb our sleep and so can mattresses which are not supportive enough. Make sure that your bedcovers are not too restrictive, don’t tuck them in too tight around you during the summer months.
15) Bed wear too restrictive:
Your bedroom attire could be the cause of your sleep problems. While we sleep we toss and turn, roll over, twitch, move our legs etc quite a number of times. Wear loose bed clothes and you will soon notice the difference.
16) No more napping in the daytime.
Ditch day time naps and allow the body to feel fatigue. Too much sleep in the daytime doesn’t help us to get to sleep at night.
17) Read/Cross stitch etc:
Read a magazine, do some crossword puzzles, allow the body and mind to unwind, relax. Crafts and so forth can tire us mentally, so get knitting, crocheting or embroidering before bed.
18) Soak and enjoy:
Soak in a warm bath for a while, this helps to make the body feel relaxed. There are numerous bath oils available for those who enjoy aromatherapy. Lavender in particular is very calming and highly recommended for those who wish to relax prior to bedtime.
19) Keep a journal/diary:
If you have things on your mind, write them down in a journal. Do this earlier in the day so that you are not focusing on your to-do-list justprior to bedtime.
20) Get rid of the clock.
Ticking clocks intrude on sleep if you have perfect hearing.
21) Mentally meander:
Create a point of focus within the mind, calm waters, a tropical paradises, salty sea breeze etc. Focus on a picturesque scenario and mentally place yourself right in the very core of it. Picture yourself on a sailing boat bobbing over the gentle waves.
Meditate and get rid of pre-bed tension. Mentally trail your thoughts from the feet up, saying to yourself “feet asleep, ankles asleep, knees asleep” working right up your body. This helps you to feel as if you are actually melting into the bed. Many hypnotherapists advise this pre-bed ritual for insomniacs.
Cammomile and many other herbal teas have been used down through the ages as a pre-bed beverage. Check out herbal teas at your local grocery store.
24) Exercise regulary/eat healthy:
A healthy diet and regular exercize keeps the body functioning well. A host of foods can be deterimental to sleep. Try not to eat anything sweet prior to bed, if you are hungry eat an apple instead.
Now would you like me to turn the lights out now?