Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tips for Easy Sleep

Many of us have an occasional night when we can’t fall asleep due to the economy, family issues or work related problems. Here are 10 tips for easy sleep that will require you to change some of your sleeping habits, but will enable you to fall asleep easy in the long run.

1. Your Bedroom: No light or sound should disturb your slumber. If you need to block out light purchase some black out curtains or blinds. If you are traveling a good sleep mask will be beneficial. Sound can either be drown out by alternative relaxing sounds such as; sleep music, white noise or even a fan. You can also buy some ear plugs. The temperature of your room should hover around 65 degrees and if you suffer from congestion during the night a humidifier will come in handy.

2. Nighttime Routine: Going to bed and getting up at the same time allows us to get the required hour of sleep and wake refreshed. If you like to read, take a bath or do yoga, allow an extra hour as this will prepare your body and mind that bedtime is fast approaching.

3. Your Nightly Activities: It is best to do work, read, watch television, play video games or surf the web anywhere but your bed. Associating your bed to sleep and intimacy only will help your mind to relax when you hit your pillow.

4. Eating: Try not to eat too close to your bedtime as this may cause indigestion or acid reflux and either keep you awake or wake you up during the night. If you like to have a snack, stick with foods that will help you to fall asleep like; turkey, nuts, seeds, cereal or eggs. These foods are full of tryptophan a chemical that causes you to become drowsy.

5. Drinking: Curb your caffeine and consumption right before bedtime. Over 50? It will take you longer to metabolize caffeine; some say up to 10 hours. What to drink? Try decaffeinated beverages and beverages that help you sleep for example; warm milk or chamomile decaf tea.

6. Exercise: Exercise is great and will make you physically tired, but it will also increase your heart rate and make your body too warm to fall asleep. You need at least three hours to cool down. If you like to do a stretch routine before bed try yoga it is not only good for the body, the breathing exercises will relax you. Oh…and if you do exercise try to get outside and soak up some vitamin D as it may energize you and reinforce your bodies circadian rhythms.

7. Bath: Taking a warm bath as part of your nightly routine is a great way to relax, but don’t make the water too warm. Your body will need to cool down (just like when you exercise) as a too warm bath will stimulate you and increase your heart rate and body temperature.

8. Natural Supplements: Many supplements will act as a sleep aide. Chamomile, valerian, kava kava, passionflower extract, catnip or hops can be taken as a pill, tincture, tea or even as pillow stuffing. Lavender is also a great herb that will relax you. Try a supplement that has a combination of herbs for better results. Note: valerian is not recommended with alcohol. If you are on any other medication or have a health issue it is advisable to consult with your physician before taking any supplements.

9. Can’t Sleep? If you have been lying in bed for more than 20 minutes because you just can’t shut down your brain….get up. Write down what is bothering you and get it out of your head! Keeping a journal or ledger is a great way to unload your brain and will allow you to get back to job at hand…SLEEP!

10. Your Bed: If your bed is too hard or soft you will wake with a back ache or stiff joints. If your mattress is over 20 years old and you feel the lumps and bumps as you roll to the middle it may be time for a new one. Can’t afford a new mattress right now, then try a memory foam mattress pad topper as it will alleviate your pressure points and make your old mattress feel like new again.
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