According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 70 million people in the United States are affected by a sleep problem. Americans suffering from chronic sleep disorders number about 40 million, and an additional 20-30 million are affected by intermittent sleep-related problems.
More importantly, studies have found a relationship between the quantity and quality of one's sleep and many health problems. For example, insufficient sleep may be linked to weight gain, hypertension, cardiovascular problems and the onset of diabetes.
Here is a list of tips for sleeping restfully. These tips are intended for "typical" adults with occasional sleep problems. This list is not for those with medical problems or necessarily for children.
1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule Our bodies have a natural clock and a regular sleep schedule conditions our physiology with a sleep-wake cycle. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens this cycle and can help the onset of sleep at night. It is important to keep a regular bedtime and wake-time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep-in.
2. Bedtime DOs Establishing a regular sleep routine will condition your mind and body to switch from activity to sleep. Your routine might include listening to soothing music, reading a book, a warm glass of milk or a warm soak in the tub (it should be done early enough that you are no longer sweating or over-heated). If you're lactose-intolerant, try an herbal tea with no caffeine. Another easy trick just before retiring is to dim the lights to tell your body it is time to rest.
3. Bedtime DON'TS Avoid eating a heavy meal before bedtime. You should finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime and avoid spicy foods that may cause heartburn. In addition, many people think alcohol is a sedative, but it actually disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings. Other things to avoid include caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate) and cigarettes (nicotine).
4. Your Bed is not a Desk The only purpose of your bed is for sleeping and sex. DO NOT use it as a workspace for sorting out papers or working on projects. Create a healthy "body" relaxing environment and not a "brain" activity space. Remove work materials, computers and televisions out of your sleep environment.
5. Bedroom Harmony Your bedroom should be pleasing, clutter-free and reflect the value you have for sleep. Your bed and pillows should be comfortable. Adjust the elements in your sleep environment such as light (dark is best), temperature and noise. If necessary, use blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, air purifiers, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
6. Nurture Your Body Visiting a holistic therapist each month will help release body tension, quiet the mind and correct any imbalances. The choices are unlimited, like acupuncture, massage, reflexology, chiropractic and more.
7. Exercise regularly Avoid exercising late at night because it raises your body temperature and makes you more alert. If you exercise at night, complete your workout at least a three hours before bedtime. A great time to exercise is late afternoon.
8. Diet and Supplements Feed your body healthy nutritional food with plenty of fresh green vegetables and fresh fruit. In addition, you can take a high quality supplement (liquid or tablet multi-vitamin) each day.
9. Resolve Mental and Emotional Issues Unplug from your day and leave the office at the office. If you still have a list of things leftover it is best to write them down with a simple to-do list for the morning. Avoid having arguments unresolved. If you have an issue with something that was said, or are angry, then write your feelings in a journal and do a brain download. Do NOT re-read this journal. If you still have issues in the morning, then speak to that person or speak to a professional.
10. Don't Watch the Clock If you can NOT fall asleep, it is best NOT to lie in bed and try to "force" yourself to sleep. Avoid checking the clock repeatedly. According to experts, if you do not fall back asleep within 15-20 minutes, you should get out of bed and go to another room. Try something relaxing such as listening to music or reading.
In conclusion, getting a good night sleep every night is important to recharge your body and mind. The quality of sleep and quantity of sleep is crucial for health, safety and longevity. Pleasant dreams and good night.
By Wayne McDonald
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.