We all have a sleepless night once in awhile, due to something on our mind, or not feeling well. But, there are several people who toss and turn every night for weeks or months, if not longer. And, it can be detrimental to a person’s health and well-being.
No, it’s not just a matter of having dark circles under the eyes, or dragging knuckles on the floor after dinner. It’s a real problem for many people. It can affect your personality, your career…and yes, your health.
A strong immune system requires sleep, and there is no getting around that fact. A person who is lacking a few hours of sleep will be more susceptible to colds and flus. However, it can be far more serious than a runny nose and an upset stomach.
People seriously lacking sleep run the risk of poor cognitive skills, memory loss, depression, and even congestive heart failure. Got your attention yet?
If you are suffering from insomnia, or find yourself heading in that direction with poor habits, read on to learn how you can give yourself the best chance of quality and healthy sleep. You deserve it, and so does everyone around you.
#1 A Structured Schedule for Sleep
It might be difficult at first, but get on a sleep schedule. A routine is very important in conditioning the body into quality sleep patterns. By retiring each night, and rising each morning around the same time, it conditions your body into a healthy cycle.
Of course, this might fluctuate a little, depending on events in your life. But, the more you stick with it, the better…including the weekends, sorry.
Now, there will be nights that you don’t drift off right away. So, after 15 minutes, it’s best to get up and find something relaxing to do, such as read, or listen to some soft instrumental music. Once the relaxation sets in, head back to bed. If you have to do it again, do it. However, don’t wait longer than 15 minutes.
#2 Comfort is Vital
Obviously comfort is important when it comes to nodding off. However, not being comfortable might not be so obvious. Your bed might seem very cozy to you, but it also needs to be supportive. So, if you are falling asleep, but wake in the middle of the night with a few aches and pains, it might be your mattress.
Fortunately, there are many choices to make, from firm to soft…and traditional to a sleep by number bed. It’s probably best to read up on the available variety by finding reviews from consumers online, and then try them in person.
I would never buy a traditional mattress without lying on it first. The sleep number theory is a bit different, as those adjust to your comfort level, and can be readjusted at any time.
#3 Eat, Drink, and be Sleepy
It’s not just a matter of what you eat just before bed, but also how much. If you go to bed hungry or overly full, the discomfort will most likely prevent you from falling asleep. That is true for fluids as well.
Now, on to what you consume before bedtime. Avoid consuming the following in the later evening hours:
- Caffeine – often found in coffees, teas, and chocolates
- Sugar – carbs and sugars wear off quicker, but will give a spurt of unwanted energy
- Alcohol – can act as a sleep aid in the beginning, but can disrupt your sleep a couple hours later
- Nicotine – acts as a stimulate and might keep you up
So, if you are hungry before bed, eat a couple crackers, and possibly a glass of milk.
#4 Develop Bedtime Habits
By having a routine of bedtime habits, it lets your body and mind know that it’s time for winding down for the day. Whether that is having a soak in the tub, or listening to soothing music, that routine is important. We do it for our kids, because it makes sense. So, it would also make sense for us as adults.
Just make sure it’s relaxing, and not invigorating like a good workout.
#5 Daily Exercise Routine
A little exercise during the day is a good stress reliever which is a big factor in insomnia. Just make sure to not do it right before bed.
We all have stress in our lives, and it’s inevitable that it will keep us awake from time to time. However, finding a way to get some of the stress out is vital in maintaining a healthy amount of sleep, long term. Daily exercise…during the day… is a good way to get it out of your system.
#6 Avoid Lengthy Daytime Naps
There may come a time when you need to re-energize for evening plans, or just to feel better after a couple sleepless nights. However, the worst thing you can do when napping, is to take an extended one. Nap for 20-30 minutes, if you do at all.
While it’s best to not get in the habit of taking naps, it is better than sleeping in and altering your sleep schedule mentioned above.
#7 Maintain a Sleep-friendly Environment
It’s not just the mattress that you need to be concerned with when it comes to comfort. The noise level is also important. If you have lot of outside noise, or other family members making noise in other rooms, drown it out with soft ‘white noise’ such as a fan or air purifier.
Also, temperature is also important. If you are too warm, or too cold, sleep will not come easy. Typically, a bedroom temperature is best set a bit lower than daytime temperatures. I know I sleep much better in a cooler room. The average temperature for people sleeping is around 65° F, give or take a degree.
There are many steps you can take to help improve your sleep patterns. If you are still not finding relief for your insomnia after trying these, then seek medical advice.
About the Author:
As a freelance writer, Melissa Cameron often looks for subjects to help others in their daily lives. For instance, when visiting www.best-mattress-reviews.com, she wanted to write a series on finding comfort in your home, especially the bedroom. When Melissa is not working she is spending time with her husband, and their two children. Melissa fully admits to being addicted to both Starbucks and Disneyland.