Sleep Disorders, Sleep Remedies & Insomnia Relief


Create Your Own Nighttime Sleep Routines

The transition from daytime to nighttime sleep is made easier by developing a routine and sticking to it. A routine is defined as, “A prescribed, detailed course of action to be followed regularly; a standard procedure.” In order to improve upon your ability to have a restful night’s sleep do the same activities night after night before going to bed. This pattern will help quiet and calm both the body and mind and prepare it for sleep. Knowing what to expect is comforting to most individuals and routine fulfills this need. Bedtime needs to be a time for quiet as it is the “winding down” period of the day. Suggestions for routine activities to do just before bedtime include listening to soothing music, taking a bath, doing some light stretches, doing some deep breathing exercises, meditating, or reading a book (just not in bed and preferably not a murder mystery!)

Falling asleep comes easily for some people but not so easily for others. Sleep techniques need to be taken into consideration if one has trouble getting to, or staying, asleep. Developing a routine with bedtime and wake up time is the way to go to enhance sleep. Learn to do both at approximately the same time every day. A schedule is an excellent way to set your biological clock and sticking to the one you put in motion will make your day run smoother and improve your sleep habits.

If you smoke, think about quitting. Smoking is harmful in so many ways and it hinders sleep. Nicotine is the main ingredient in cigarettes and it is a stimulant. Research has proven that people who smoke a lot don’t spend enough time in deep sleep plus they awake more frequently during the night. Limit your consumption of alcohol before bedtime or better yet don’t drink before going to sleep, as it can be disruptive to sleep patterns. Stop drinking or eating anything with caffeine in it (for example coffee, tea, soda or chocolate) anywhere from four to six hours before turning in for the night. Certain over-the-counter medications such as pain relief medication (for example, Anacin and Excedrin) have a fair share of caffeine in them. Keep that in mind if a headache creeps up on you shortly before bedtime.

Never overeat before going to bed, nor go to bed on a completely empty stomach. Routines revolving around eating habits are important to establish. Eating a full meal before bedtime is not easy for the body to digest if it is high in fat content. As well an empty, growling stomach will not allow for a fitful sleep. If you have gone without eating anything for a span of at least five hours, a good suggestion for a bedtime snack is a glass of milk, a bran muffin, yogurt, a cup of herbal tea or a banana.

Exercising on a regular basis is an excellent routine to develop and one of the benefits reaped from it is enhanced sleep. And the exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous- light to moderate physical activity can work wonders. Consider taking daily walks or practicing yoga. Sleep experts recommend thirty minutes of exercise approximately three to four times a week. That is flexible enough for most people to fit into their busy schedules. Exercise not only can make the quality of sleep better but also deeper and it is excellent for relieving stresses of both the physical and mental kind.

Speaking of stress it is wise to find positive outlets to manage stress and stress related problems such as anxiety, phobias and depression. Take time for yourself and learn to relax. Consider positive self-talk, relaxation therapy, deep breathing exercises or meditation. And remember that fun can be relaxing too!

A bedroom should not be as warm as a sauna. Always make sure the temperature in your bedroom is on the cool side, preferably in the mid sixties or low/mid seventies. Pay attention to the other details of your bedroom as well, i.e. the placement of furniture, the lighting and your mattress. A mattress that is too hard or too soft will not allow for a good night’s sleep at all. A proper mattress needs to provide both its support to the sleeper as well as comfort. If yours doesn’t do both then it’s time to invest in a new one.

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