Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting to Sleep Easy

One of the most important things you can do to help improve your sleep is to make your bedtime part of your daily schedule. As long as bedtime is disorganized you’ll have a problem getting to sleep easy. Don’t make your bedtime just whenever you happen to get tired, because you will probably go to bed later than you should. To reenergize your brain and body you need at least seven hours of sleep. You can get by with the occasional poor night sleep, but can’t endure chronic sleep deprivation without eventually showing signs of some health side effects. You can try to make-up lost sleep by taking naps or sleeping in on the weekends, but overtime if you consistently fail to get adequate sleep it will end up costing you your physical health and mental outlook.

If you want to get enough sleep every night you have to make your bedtime a habit, just like eating right or saving money. Everyone has an individual body rhythm in which they feel alert at different times during the day. You may be a person that loves the morning and will wake up when the sun rises, but can’t stay awake past 9pm at night. Or a night owl that loves to stay up all hours only to sleep right through their 7am alarm. But most of us have 8am to 5pm jobs and no matter when we feel most alert, we may have to compromise our nighttime schedule in order to get enough sleep for our daily activities whether it is school or work.

Knowing if we prefer to get up in the morning or sleep in we can select when to schedule classes, make appointments or even our career choice. If you are a night owl you may not prefer a job in construction, farming or surgery, but love a career in the entertainment industry or hotel and restaurant. On the other hand if you are a morning person you may prefer to do surgery as you would fall asleep during an onstage performance. For most of us these career choices are a luxury and not reality, so we truly need to figure out how much sleep we need to be productive during waking hours.

Many people go to bed at 11pm and wake at 6am if they have an 8am to 5pm job. This allows them time to get ready and have a breakfast before leaving the house. The best way to determine the time you should go to bed is to work backwards from the time you have to get up in the morning. After you establish your ideal bedtime, the next trick is to actually go to bed at that time every night. You also should have an hour before your bedtime to actually prepare your mind and body that it is time to go to bed. Making a bedtime routine can consist of taking a warm bath that is not too hot because this will raise your body temperature and increase your heart rate, having a snack, cup of herbal tea or a glass of warm milk, getting your pajamas on, brushing your teeth, reading a book, getting that report done or writing in a journal.

Concentrate on keeping your bedtime and make it a priority. Reward yourself after a week for sticking to your schedule like buying a new pair of shoes or going out to your favorite restaurant. It will take your mind and body a few weeks to adjust to the new schedule, but you will feel more alert and energetic in the long run. Eventually you may even wake up before your alarm clock in the morning!

From time to time we all feel too much stress in our daily lives to fall asleep and we lie there thinking of all the things we have to do (like getting that report done) or the problems we have to face. If you find yourself just laying there get up for about 20 minutes before you attempt to fall asleep again. Write down what is bothering you and give yourself some ideas to resolve the issue. Sometimes just getting it down on paper will get it out of your head long enough for you to relax and fall asleep. Another way to stop thinking about your problems is to listen to something else. Try sleep music, white noise or relaxation tapes.

Remember these are only suggestions only you will know what works for you. If falling asleep is causing you to have other health concerns it may be necessary for you to see your doctor as he may recommend medication or seeing a sleep specialist. If you want other tips and techniques on how to go asleep using natural remedies read my other articles. They may offer some more ideas on getting to sleep easy.
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