9 Tips to Sleep Better Tonight

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/11/2012 10:00 AM   :  10 comments   :  9,569 Views

If you're having a difficult time getting seven to eight hours a sleep a night, it's a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider about options for improving your quantity and quality of sleep.  Some women find that making changes in their sleep hygiene--a fancy phrase for good sleep habits--can make a big difference in getting a good night's sleep.  Here are several tips for better shut-eye:

-Maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time, and try not to change it drastically on the weekends.

-Ease into bedtime with a warm bath or reading.  Avoid exercising or eating 2-3 hours prior to bedtime.

-Don't set your alarm early and hit the snooze button.  You benefit from allowing yourself to sleep soundly until the time when you actually need to get up.

-Stop drinking caffeine 6-7 hours before bedtime.  

-Limit alcohol 2 hours before bedtime.  Although alcohol may make you fall asleep, it can disrupt normal sleep patterns and can cause you to wake up during the night.

-If you need to get up at night to use the bathroom, avoid turning on bright lights. Have a night-light plugged in instead so you avoid over-stimulating your brain.

-Keep your bedroom dark.

-Invest in a new mattress if you find you're tossing and turning throughout the night because of discomfort.

-Ear plugs can make a big difference in frequent wake ups, especially if you sleep with a snorer.

If you've tried these techniques and are still having a tough time falling or staying asleep, don't give up.  There are other levels of treatment that may work for you.  For more information on how to treat your sleep problems, check out SparkPeople's Insomnia Condition Center.
 


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Comments

  • 10
    I usually sleep like a log when I'm at home because I live in a quiet neighborhood. the police or fire engines are white noise. However, when I go away, I tend to be a light sleeper because I'm not used to the local noises. Also, while I normally get a good 7-8 hours of sleep a night, lately I have been having problems related to peri menopause. I have noticed the occasional evening "power surge". And that can keep me up despite my best efforts to get some sleep.

    I will say that I do think a regular exercise program has helped my sleep habits overall. - 4/12/2012   9:54:26 AM
  • 9
    when I can't sleep, I start praying and then I fall asleep. I don't even think I finish praying. - 4/11/2012   11:57:15 PM
  • 8
    I sometimes want to keep reading, even when I know I'm really tired. I just need to make it more of a priority to make sure I get enough sleep. - 4/11/2012   8:02:11 PM
  • 7
    They forgot exercise! I almost always have trouble sleeping, unless I'm working out regularly. It makes a huge difference for me and my kids. I run them around an indoor track for 15 minutes and they sleep like babies. There's something to be said for wearing yourself out during the day. :) - 4/11/2012   4:36:23 PM
  • 6
    The vast majority of my "sleep problems" aren't anything but my own bad habits - so I did other on the poll. I use a laptop in bed - warmer and more comfy than sitting at the desk. I'll see it's time to go to sleep, but have a few more webcomics to read, or a blog to finish, or ... and an hour later, I shut the laptop and crash.

    The one of those I found interesting was the suggestion to not set the alarm early and snooze it. My own experience is that if I don't hit my sleep cycle at the right time, I flat-out will not wake up to the first alarm and it takes that long to penetrate and pull me out of the deep sleep. (If I hit the sleep cycle right, I'm awake and just lounging and planning my day for the snooze or three.) - 4/11/2012   1:23:22 PM
  • 5
    I never experienced sleeping problems until I turned 30. The adult life brings many more worries! :)

    Here's what I do to help:
    1) Wake up at 4:30 am every morning to workout. I know I know, this sounds counterintuitive, but I find that if I do this and sweat for at least 60 minutes, 3 things happen: a) More hours in the day to get things done thus less worries at night, b) My workout is done and over with!, and c) I am passed out by 9 pm. The only caveat is, when I decide to "sleep in," I get completely amped during the day and then it will take FOREVER to get to sleep at night, if I even sleep. I just use it as extra motivation to wake up.
    2) Stop drinking caffeine by 11 am. This is an absolute biggie. If I even sip coffee or tea at 11:01 am, I will be up half the night.
    3) Invest in a puffy, luxurious-feeling blindfold. I found mine at Whole Foods. I freaked out at the price initially, but it's the only one that actually makes it so I will see pitch black even when the room is at full brightness. Worth every penny, especially when sleeping in different time zones.
    4) Use Johnson & Johnson's Nighttime Lotion. It's for babies, but a little rub on my chest and then BLAM! I'm knocked out cold in minutes. - 4/11/2012   12:52:52 PM
  • 4
    I've alway suffered from insomnia. A few things have helped me:

    1) Melatonin. One of these helps me fall asleep more easily.
    2) A program called flu.x - google it. It dims the lights on your computer monitor to a more natural level as the night progresses, so it's a softer, less-stimulating brightness. It really does help.
    3) Turn off screens at least an hour before bed. Those backlit-devices sabotage our body's natural sleep rhythms.

    NO TV IN THE BEDROOM. Leave it off.

    Also divorce your husband. It's probably his problem. ;) Kidding, kidding. Seriously though, my husband's the source of a lot of my problems. His RLS, periodic limb movement disorder, snoring, and frequent night wakeups disturb my sleep constantly. When he's not in the bed with me, I tend to sleep much better. - 4/11/2012   11:34:26 AM
  • 3
    I have trouble with insomnia--I get it from my dad. It bothers me a couple of weeks at a time on a recurring basis, so I try everything: over the counter sleep aids, fan noise, ear plugs, sleeping in a different room, sometimes it help, sometimes it doesn't. The above ideas sound great, especially the one about because I tend to exercise after work, sometimes as late as 7-8 p.m., and have noticed sleep does not come as well then. - 4/11/2012   11:22:52 AM
  • 2
    I can't stand earplugs--they are horribly uncomfortable for me, but my husband's snoring keeps me awake so we have a white noise generator. Plus--it keeps me from waking up when my neighbors start moving around too (I live in an apartment). - 4/11/2012   11:18:59 AM
  • 1
    I don't have a problem sleeping, I have a problem waking up. No matter what I do I hate it when my alarm clock goes off in the morning. - 4/11/2012   11:01:10 AM

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