Sunday, July 3, 2011

Easy Ways to Fall Asleep

What are some easy ways to fall asleep? Do you have an occasional problem falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night? Is your sleep pattern consistent or do you sleep four hours one night and another ten. On the nights you only get four hours do you fight afternoon sleepiness and try to take a nap? Do you sleep better on the weekend or during the work week? Every time you go to bed can you relax or does your mind race causing anxiety and stress? At A Sleep Easy Kat found a number of ways that may help you to get the deep restorative sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed the next day. The following are her tips and techniques:

[caption id="attachment_1328" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Easy Ways to Fall Asleep-20 min power nap at work"][/caption]

For older adults it may be easier to get the required number of hours of sleep by switching to a biphasic sleep pattern. A biphasic sleep pattern is when you get 5-6 hours at night and take a 1-2 hour nap in the afternoon. Remember to stick to a sleep schedule even for your nap time and nap early enough in the afternoon so you don’t interfere with falling asleep at night. For younger adults a power nap is suggested by many sleep experts. A power nap is approximately 20 minutes long and should also be early in the afternoon. If you can squeeze a short nap into your lunch break when you’re naturally inclined to sleep, this can reenergize your mind to make it through the rest of the day.

Take a warm bath, not a hot one. Taking a hot bath right before bed will only increase your body temperature and heart rate which will only keep you awake. If you love a hot bath at night take one 2 hours prior to your scheduled bed time. This will give your body enough time to cool down.

If suffer from hot flashes or night sweats doctors recommend that in order to sleep well your bedroom temperature should be around 60 degrees. Otherwise, 65 degrees is the best temperature to keep your body temperature down to sleep through the night. I personally love a cool room, so I can use my heavy comforter.

A new report found that people who exercise in the morning are inclined to get more deep sleep than those that exercise in the afternoon or evening. The best way to exercise in the morning is to walk/jog/run outdoors. The morning sun keeps your body’s internal clock set and you benefit by getting vitamin D. A recent case study has shown that for some patient with severe sleepiness are prone to have a vitamin D deficiency. Other studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to metabolic syndrome, muscle pain and even type 2 diabetes.

Among all alcoholic beverages, red wines have the highest concentration of melatonin. According to research currently underway at the University of Milan, the melatonin found in grapes is modified in the fermentation process to a melatonin similar to that produced in our bodies. For this reason, grape juice and grapes themselves will not give you the same sleep benefits as red wine. But stick to one glass before bedtime, because drinking a few glasses of wine may put you to sleep, however, it also can disrupt normal sleep patterns, resulting in increased fatigue and physical stress to the body. Alcohol use can aggravate sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea; those with such disorders should be cautious about alcohol use.

Keeping a sleep habitual ritual that works for you. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep at night. So, if you have to get up at 6am to get ready for work this means you need to be “asleep” by 11pm. In order for you to fall asleep by 11pm you should start getting ready for bed around 10pm. Your 10pm sleep ritual may include; putting on you pajamas (if you wear them), brushing your teeth, locking up the house, having a cup of decaffeinated sleepytime tea or glass of warm milk, powering down the electronics and generally getting your house and mind in order so you can relax enough to fall asleep. This may also be the time to make sure your bedroom is cozy, cool, dark and quiet. Blocking out noise and light is crucial for sleep. If you are a light sleeper you may want to have a fan running or a CD that consists of white noise or other sleep inducing sounds like; the ocean waves or a rain storm. If you have a lot on your mind and feel stressed you may want to include meditation as part of your ritual. Sometimes when you lay there thinking about what you have to do the next day you come up with some brilliant ideas to solve your problems. Keep a pad of paper and pen next to your bed so you don’t forget what’s important. Getting your problems down on paper and out of your head allows you to focus on what’s important at 11pm…sleep.

A study done by Sar Bir Khalsa, PhD found that simple stretching exercises create deeper and longer sleep. Yoga stretches include breathing slowly allow you to concentrate on relaxing parts of your body which will make you ready for sleep. Edward Vilga is a nationally certified yoga instructor created Yoga in Bed. This DVD features an energizing morning series to prime you for the day ahead -- plus a relaxing evening routine to chill you out. The moves will relax your body and mind, but the best part is that you can do them all in bed!

Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation With Focused Breathing and visualization techniques are available on self-hypnosis CDs and sleep mp3s which are another method that helps you to relax and fall asleep easy.

Love to have a snack before retiring? Eat ones that are rich in carbohydrates and tryptophan. These foods will make you feel drowsy and relaxed. Avoid sugar and caffeine. This means no chocolate, coffee, soda or foods that increase insulin levels. Watch out for caffeine in cold medicine and diet pills, read the labels. See more about foods with tryptophan.

Aromatherapy using essential oils of lavender have been used widely and it is known as a natural sleep aid. Put a drop or two on your pillow or wear a lavender scented eye mask (pillow). Burn a lavender scented candle or add lavender oil to your warm bath at night. Studies show that when Lavender oil was applied to the hands and feet there was a noticeable decrease in elevated pulse and respiration. Relaxation was seen and family members stated that they noticed a decrease in agitation in their ill loved ones. Lavender is thought to produce a sedative effect similar to some sleep aides, without the nasty side effects.

[caption id="attachment_1327" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Easy Ways to Fall Asleep-EFT tapping points"][/caption]

Try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to overcome stress and anxiety and improve emotional health. The EFT Manual is a psychological acupressure technique that helps remove negative emotions, implements positive goals, reduce food cravings and alleviates or eliminates pain by tapping the fingertips on areas of the body and voicing positive affirmations. This tapping works to clear emotional blocks from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance. The tapping points, and their abbreviations, are explained below, and in the exact order in which they should be tapped.

1. Top of the Head (TH)

With fingers back-to-back down the center of the skull.

2. Eyebrow (EB)

Just above and to one side of the nose, at the beginning of the eyebrow.

3. Side of the Eye (SE)

On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.

4. Under the Eye (UE)

On the bone under an eye about 1 inch below your pupil.

5. Under the Nose (UN)

On the small area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip.

6. Chin (Ch)

Midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip. Even though it is not directly on the point of the chin, we call it the chin point because it is descriptive enough for people to understand easily.

7. Collar Bone (CB)

The junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet. This is a very important point and in acupuncture is referred to as K (kidney) 27. To locate it, first place your forefinger on the U-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone (about where a man would knot his tie). From the bottom of the U, move your forefinger down toward the navel 1 inch and then go to the left (or right) 1 inch. This point is referred to as Collar Bone even though it is not on the collarbone (or clavicle) per se.

8. Under the Arm (UA)

On the side of the body, at a point even with the nipple (for men) or in the middle of the bra strap (for women). It is about 4 inches below the armpit.

9. Wrists (WR)

The last point is the inside of both wrists.

EFT is a new technique to me, but I know that stress and anxiety are the number one non-medical reasons for not being able to fall asleep at night. What might work for one person, may not work for another. If you feel your inability to fall asleep and staying asleep all night is causing insomnia or another medical condition it is important to contact your physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment. For those of us with an occasional sleepless night the bottom line is to condition ourselves with a positive association with just letting go of your daily stress and getting some sleep.

The content provided in Easy Ways to Fall Asleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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