Tips for Getting a Better Nights’ Sleep- Part 2
Here we finish up what we started last week on sleep tips for getting a better nights’ sleep. To recap, 6 to 8 hours sleep are what most adults need to be as productive, mentally sharp, emotionally fit and have enough energy to get through the day in the best way possible. Insomnia can affect us all at times, and when we don’t get enough sleep, we suffer and are not at our best. Short term and long term health are also affected by how well we sleep and how much rest we are consistently getting. Use the following sleep tips to give yourself the best chance for a restful and refreshing nights sleep.
Last week we took a look at our first three sleep tips:
Sleep Tips #1: Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule
Sleep Tips #2: Make your Bedroom More Conducive to Sleep
Sleep Tips #3: Have a Relaxing Bed Time Routine
We finish up today with 4 more Sleep Tips to ensure you the best chance for a restful sleep-
Sleep Tips #4: Eat right and get regular exercise. Daytime eating and exercise habits impact how well you sleep, particularly in the hours leading up to your bedtime.
- Avoid big meals at night- Try to have an early dinner time and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of going to bed. Note- Fatty foods take a lot of work to digest and may keep you up. Additionally, eating spicy and/or acidic foods in the evening can cause stomach trouble and heartburn, making sleep more difficult.
- Avoid alcohol before bed- A common misconception is that a night cap before bed will help you sleep. Though it may help you fall asleep more quickly, alcohol reduces sleep quality, waking you later in the night. Try to avoid alcohol in the hours leading up to your bedtime.
- Cut down on caffeine- Did you know that caffeine can cause difficulties up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it?! If you can avoid caffeine after your morning cup of coffee you should do so, especially if you are not used to having it later in the day.
- Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening- Too much water, juice, tea and other liquids can result in frequent trips to the bathroom at night, especially as we get older and especially for men. Drinks that act as diuretics (see caffeine) make matters worse.
- Quit Smoking- As if you don’t need another reason why smoking is bad for you, it causes sleep problems in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant- it disrupts sleep. As addictive as nicotine is, smokers experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses thus making it harder to sleep.
- Regular Exercising will help you sleep better- As little as twenty to thirty minutes of daily activity helps, and it doesn’t even have to be at the same time. Break it up in to two 10 to 15 minutes sessions and still reap the benefits. A brisk walk, a bike ride or gardening all count! But do your exercise in the morning or afternoon, exercise stimulates the body, raising the temperature, which is the opposite of what you want before bed.
Sleep Tips #5: Control your stress and anxiety. Stress, worry, and anger from your day can also make it more difficult to sleep soundly. If you worry a lot or have stress related issues, that is outside the scope of this article and may require more research on your part. However, for occasional times when you have things on your mind from family or work events, or you just can’t relax, here are some calming techniques for better sleep:
- Deep Breathing- Close your eyes, take deep, slow breaths, trying to make each deeper than the last.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation- Start at your toes and work your way to the top of your head. Tense all your muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax.
- Visualize a peaceful, restful place- Some people call it their ‘Happy Place’. Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed it makes you feel.
Sleep Tips #6: Ways to get back to sleep. We all wake up during the night, here are some tips for getting back to sleep when it doesn’t happen naturally right away.
- Get out of your head- Don’t stress over the fact you are awake, stay in bed and relaxed, focus on how your body feels, cue the relaxation techniques.
- Make relaxation your goal, not sleep- Relaxing is a way to get back to sleep, so focus on that. Don’t worry you are awake, think about relaxing yourself.
- Do a quiet non-stimulating activity- read a book, have some tea, but avoid bright lights and things like iPads, TV, Kindles, and computers- the lights can throw off your internal clock.
- Postpone worrying and brainstorming- If you do wake up thinking of a stressful or worrisome issue, make a note of it and let yourself know you will focus on it the next morning. If you wake to a great idea, also, make a note of it and come back to it in the morning.
Sleep Tips #7: Know when to see a Doctor. If you have tried all the things we have discussed and are still bothered by continuous, consistent problems falling asleep and staying asleep, you may have a sleep disorder that requires help from a physician. Consider seeing a doctor if you are continuing to experience the following symptoms:
- Persistent daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Loud snoring and pauses in breathing
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
- Frequent morning headaches
- Non restful sleep
- Crawling sensations in your legs or arms at night
- Inability to move while falling asleep or waking up
- Physically acting out dreams during sleep
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times
There you have it, our list of sleep tips for a better nights sleep. Sleep is such an important part of our life and ability to be and stay healthy. It is important to give yourself the best chance to get rest consistently so that you can be your best every day!
Part of a good nights’ sleep is having a comfortable bed to sleep in. Use WeKnowMattresses.com as your first resource in finding information on the types of bedding systems available out there, and once you have your perfect bed in place, use these tips to ensure you are giving yourself the very best opportunity to get the sleep and rest you need!