Seven tips for sound sleep
We all feel better after a good night’s sleep. Though everyone has nights when sleep is elusive, we can cultivate habits that will make a restful night likely more of the time.
Variety may be the spice of life, but doing the “same old thing” is better at bedtime. An evening ritual signals your body to begin slowing down in preparation for sleep. Helpful ritual activities are reading, listening to quiet music, doing gentle yoga stretches, and taking a bath or shower.
Take Care of Business During the Day
Many of us can’t sleep because we worry and plan instead of spilling Zs. If you must plan for tomorrow, do it earlier in the evening or wait until morning. Take care of personal business without waiting until the last minute so you have less to fret about at 3 a.m. TVs and lap tops are best kept out of the bedroom; where you sleep should be a quiet sanctuary, not an entertainment center.
Limit Couch Time
If you lay around all day, your body may not want to wind down at night. Stay active with light exercise, house, or garage chores, riding bikes with the kids, or shooting hoops at the park. If you enjoy napping, 30 minutes or less is best; any longer and you risk not being able to sleep well at night.
Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
No one sleeps well unless they are comfortable. Mattresses are meant to be supportive, allowing you to relax. People tend to sleep well when the room is dark and on the cool side. Heavy shades or curtains will darken a room that gets too much street or moon light. Some people use white noise machines, or ear plugs to block street noise, or snoring.
Same Time, Same Place
Try getting up at the same time each morning, and retiring the same hour each night. Even on weekends or when vacationing, your body will appreciate keeping regular sleep habits. (This is especially true for those who have chronic sleep issues.) On nights when you can’t get to sleep, it may help to get up and enjoy a relaxing activity until you are sleepy, or try nibbling on a light snack.
Less Food is More Sleep
The key word here is moderation. Caffeinated drinks and cigarettes (nicotine) stimulate our body making it difficult to nod off. Laying down with a stuffed, or an empty stomach is just asking for a restless night, and we all know what happens when we drink a lot of liquid before bed. Alcoholic beverages make some people sleepy but can make sleeping through the night difficult. When you eat, eat good mood foods.
Try Mindfulness Therapy
If your mind is restless, try focusing on your breath. Simply be attentive to the air flowing in and blowing out. Or, imagine a relaxing scene, such as sipping a cool drink on a sandy white beach; listen to the seagulls, and waves lapping the shore.