Sleep Tips for Getting a Better Nights’ Sleep- Part 2

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: don't eat a big meal or drink alcohol

A poor decision for a pre bedtime snack

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!

sleep tips sweet dreams

Sweet Dreams and a Restful Nights Sleep

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!

Sweet Dreams-

 

Sleep Tips for Getting a Better Nights’ Sleep- Part 1

Sleep Tips for getting a better nights’ sleep- Part 1

sleep tips for a good nights sleep

Better Sleep for a Better Day

Let’s face it, we all feel better when we are productive, mentally sharp, emotionally fit and full of energy.  How you feel during the day is dependant upon how well you sleep.  WeKnowMattresses will take a look at some sleep tips to help you sleep better.  We think you will find these sleep tips to make sense and are easy to fit in to your daily routine.

But how do you ensure a good nights sleep?

Getting in Sync with your body’s natural sleep and awake cycle- the Circadian Rhythm– is one of the most important things for good sleep.

There are a number of ways you minimize difficulties in falling and staying asleep during the night.  We will take a look at sleep tips you can use to help get a better night sleep.  This is part 1-

6 to 8 hours of sleep seem to be what most adults need to lead a healthy life.  Following are a number of sleep tips and strategies for accomplishing that- the key is to develop what works best for you- everyone is different.

Sleep Tips #1: You will tend to feel more refreshed and energized if you are able to keep a regular sleep schedule- going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.

  • Set a regular bedtime: Consistency is important for your body to get in to a sleep rhythm.
  • Wake up at the same time every day: If you are well rested, you should be getting up naturally, without an alarm clock.  Try to maintain consistency in your wake up time to help with your sleep rhythm.
  • Nap to make up for lost sleep: If you need to catch up on sleep, take a short nap during the day rather than sleep later and disrupt your sleep rhythm.
  • Be smart about napping: But…while a nap can recharge you, it can add to insomnia problems.  If you nap, do so in the afternoon and for a short period of time like 30 minutes.
  • Fight after dinner drowsiness: If you get tired before your natural bed time, do something to stimulate yourself like taking a walk, doing the dishes, getting clothes ready for the next day.  If you fall asleep too early it can disrupt your sleep patterns.

Sleep Tips #2: Make your bedroom more conducive to sleep.  It’s not just the number of hours you sleep but the quality of those hours.  A good sleeping environment can make a huge difference in how well you sleep.

  • Keep noise down: Generally you sleep better when your bedroom is quiet.  While you may feel you can sleep through sirens, street noise, and airplanes, sleep studies show these sounds are still disruptive.  Shutting doors and windows masking noise with a fan or other soothing sounds and ear plugs are effective ways to diminish the impact of disruptive noise.
  • Keep your room dark and cool: When you go to bed you should have as dark a room as possible to avoid confusing your body clock.  Also avoid falling asleep with the TV or your computer screen left on as the lights from these can affect your sleep.  Temperature is also important, most people sleep best in a slightly cool room, around 65 degrees.  A room too warm or too cold can lead to restless sleep.
  • Have a Comfortable bed: Is your bed big enough?  Is there room to stretch out and move around? is there enough room for two of you if you sleep with someone?  Your mattress and bedding are important.  If you wake with a sore back or neck, it may time to look at a new bed or pillow or both.  Look in to different types of mattress materials, cores, types, sizes and levels of support to determine the best bedding system for you.

Sleep Tips #3: Have a relaxing bedtime routine, relax and unwind before bed, and you will sleep better and more soundly.  A relaxing routine signals your brain that it’s time to unwind and let go of the days stress.

  • Turn the TV off: Television stimulates the brain (really) rather than relaxing it. Even the most relaxing shows can interfere with your bodies natural clock due to the flickering light from the screen.  And, if you fall asleep with the TV on you can be awaken later by noise from shows, which obviously is disturbing.
  • Only use your bed for sleeping: By using it for things like working from home, doing online chores, and watching TV, you are training your body to not relax when in bed.  Let your body get the specific message that when you are in it, it is time to relax and fall asleep.
  • Some relaxing bedtime rituals that may help you relax include: light reading, take a warm bath, listen to soft music, do some easy stretching, or listen to a book on tape.

That wraps up ‘sleep tips part 1’ of our look at ways to get a better night sleep.  You can see that these sleep tips are not that difficult or radical, but the results can have a profound impact on your physical and mental health.

Sleep tight!

 

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep and the Effects of not Getting Enough-

Today we look at the effects not getting enough sleep.  While there are definite benefits to being well rested, there are also definite side effects to NOT sleeping enough, especially if insomnia becomes a chronic condition.  We all experience bouts of insomnia, stress, distraction, staying out late and all night studying.  But when not getting enough sleep becomes a way of life, we risk serious health hazards.

Chronic sleep deprivation may harm your health-

Chronic sleep deprivation significantly affects your health, work performance, safety and pocketbook.  There are many reasons for insomnia: Daily life stress, trading rest for more work, medical and mental health reasons and most importantly- unrecognized sleep disorders.

Short Term Consequences of sleep deprivation:

Insufficient Sleep Can Lead to Poor Work Performance

1)     Decreased performance and alertness: Lack of sleep causes significant reductions in general performance and alertness.  By reducing nighttime sleep just ½ hour, your daytime alertness can drop as much as a third.

2)     Memory and Cognitive Impairment: Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impairs your memory and cognitive ability- your ability to think and process information.

3)     Relationship Stress: Disruption of a bed partners rest due to a sleep disorder may cause significant relationship problems (separate room, conflicts, moodiness, etc)

4)     Poor Quality of Life: You may no longer be able to participate in the things you enjoy, or that require sustained attention.

5)     Occupational Injury: Daily fatigue from lack of sleep can increase the risk of a job injury by as much as 2 times.

6)     Automobile injury: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities.

Long Term Consequences:

Sleeping disorders and chronic sleeping problems can lead to serious long term health issues including-

  • High Blood Pressure and Stroke
  • Heart attacks and heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Psychiatric problems, depression and mood disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Mental Impairment
  • Fetal and Childhood growth retardation

To learn more about these medical issues, check out WebMD

A study found insufficient sleep time is a greater mortality risk than smoking, high blood pressure and heart disease!

Clearly it is vitally important for our own well being to be well rested.  Next week we look at impairments to sleeping well and some ways you can help increase your chance for a great nights sleep.

Sweet Dreams!

 

Until then, Sweet Dreams!