Getting to Sleep and Staying Asleep

Feb 23, 2013

by

In:blog

3 comments

Getting to Sleep and Staying Asleep

Most people will have trouble figuring out how to go to sleep and stay asleep at some point in their lives. These problems can turn into insomnia, a condition characterized by sleep disturbances at night and daytime tiredness, fatigue and irritability.

This sleep disorder can cause more than just weariness during the day. You may find that it affects your overall physical and mental health.

Not only can sleep problems cause you to feel stressed, absent-minded and fatigued, but the condition can also lead to heart disease, hypertension and other maladies.

A lot of on-the-job accidents and mistakes can also be traced to sleep deprivation. Fortunately, there are a number of easy solutions to help you get rid of your insomnia

Pay attention to these handy tips to learn the best ways to get to sleep and stay there without consuming risky medication.

Spend some time relaxing before you head off to bed. Some light exercise after dinner can prepare you to “wind down” with a book or some music before it’s time for sleep. You may also want to add a little meditation or yoga stretches to get yourself into a comfortable frame of mind.

Make sure that your bedroom is peaceful and quiet. When you aren’t able to control noise coming into your bedroom, you can use white noise machines or earplugs to drown out the distractions.

Eliminate light for restful sleep. Outfit your bedroom with thick curtains or blinds if possible keep lights on electronic devices at a minimum. In some cases you might need an eye shade or sleep mask.

Let the sunshine in! Immediately opening your blinds or drapes in the morning ensures that your internal clock keeps the correct time. Earlier exposure to bright sunlight makes it easier to become fully awake and alert.

Don’t let yourself sleep during the day. If you do need a nap, try to keep it to less than a half hour and schedule it before 3:00 PM.

Engage in physical activity every day. You can take up yoga, enjoy a dance or aerobics class, ride your bicycle, go walking or spend time at the gym. Just take care not to exercise shortly before bed. Excessive physical activity will make you feel too alert.

Avoid drinking and smoking in the hours just before sleep. Nicotine acts as a stimulant to keep you awake, while the glutamine rebound from drinking may cause you to wake up during the night. The rebound may also force you to wake up for repeated bathroom breaks, preventing deeper stages of sleep.

Avoid electronic devices and entertainment just before bed. The backlighting on the screen produces similar mental effects to those of bright morning sunshine.

Don’t argue, debate or get into intense conversations during the evening. A heated discussion is detrimental to restful sleep. The rule holds true whether the discussion takes place on the phone or in cyberspace as well as in real life. These activities can make you feel over-stimulated and prevent quality sleep.

Avoid going to bed hungry. If you’re restricting your diet, be careful. The sensation of hunger might keep you awake. Try to eat a light snack about an hour before bedtime to stimulate the body’s melatonin production.

Pick a snack with calcium, protein or complex carbohydrates before you sleep. Foods like nuts or cheese contain sleep-inducing tryptophan. This substance is responsible for encouraging the production of chemicals like melatonin and serotonin, which encourage calmness. You may also benefit from the substances in whole grain snacks, oatmeal, turkey and yogurt.

Avoid negative thoughts in the bedroom. Concentrate on good emotions and memories instead. Think about the things that matter most and make you feel good. Spend a little time considering your loved ones or something you’re proud of. Visualize your favorite vacation locales.

Control your breathing while in bed. Practice diaphragmatic breathing. Count to four while breathing in, hold the breath for a moment, then breathe out for another four seconds. On the exhale, try silently repeating a ‘mantra’ or calming word.

If you have trouble sleeping after being awake for a half hour, don’t stay in bed. Go to another room and do something calming, like some light stretching or relaxed reading. Just make sure that you don’t end up feeling stressed about being unable to sleep.

3 comments