25 Better Sleep Tips
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
1. Relieve stress. Those with stress are more prone to insomnia, but exercise, meditation, yoga and other techniques can help you relax. Do something to relieve stress every day.
2. Exercise regularly. Following a consistent exercise program can help you increase your energy levels during the day, improve your mood, and regulate your sleeping patterns at night.
3. Have a routine. Wind down at the same time and in the same way every night, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and stick to it every day, even during weekends. You'll have more energy, fall asleep faster, and wake up better refreshed.
4. Have a light snack before bed, but avoid anything protein rich (which will give you energy), anything with lots of calories (you won't burn them off) or with caffeine or sugar in it. Also, be careful with fatty foods; they're more likely to give you heartburn. If you suffer hunger pangs at bedtime which stop you eating, try a cooking 1 tbsp of porridge oats into a glass of milk. Purée, adding 1 small banana if you like. The fibre and starch will stave off hunger and help you sleep.
5. Turn your back on the clock; watching time tick-by when you can't sleep has been proven to increase stress about falling asleep, therefore making it harder to do.
6. Write in a journal or do a blog post before bed to get any thoughts you've been stressing about out of your system.
7. Make sure your bedroom is dark, not well lit.
8. Aerobics exercise within three or four hours of bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep; try workouts in the morning or afternoon instead, or try yoga before bed.
9. Go to bed earlier. Not only will it increase the time you spend in bed, but knowing you don't have to be up soon will decrease your sleep-stress and boost your sleep quality, too.
10. Eat at regular intervals to keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day; too little food and too much exertion leads to afternoon and evening snacking, and usually sugar cravings, both of which will keep you awake well into the night.
11. Don't over-sleep. Getting to bed late then hitting the snooze button actually makes you more tired; that extra five minutes will just stretch out your waking process and make it harder to rouse yourself.
12. Limit your caffeine intake. Aim for 1-2 cups or less per day, and avoid them for at least 4 hours before bed.
13. Relax a little. Schedule some down-time for half an hour or so before bed, especially if you've had a stressful day.
14. Add white noise if you have a hard time falling asleep.
15. Listen to lullaby's before bed; you'll sleep more soundly.
16. Be productive. If you lay in bed at night worrying about all the things you still have to do, get up and do something. Then go back to bed, knowing it's been taken care of.
17. Nap wisely; a power nap of 15-20 minutes can boost mood and productivity, but falling into a deeper sleep or napping for longer periods can lead to grogginess and difficulty falling asleep at bedtime.
18. Try some tryptophan. Milk contains this, and warm milk before bed is especially soothing. Do a bit of research though into other tryptophan sources too.
19. Valerian root is an effective sleep aid; try some herbal tea containing it. Give chamomile a shot too, especially if stress is your problem.
20. Make sure it's not too hot or too cold in your bedroom.
21. Watch what you eat before bed. Many recommend nothing to eat for at least 3 hours before bed, but if you do choose to eat avoid anything that gives too much of an energy burst, indigestion and heartburn.
22. Try aromatherapy; lavender and chamomile are good places to start.
23. Get as much sunshine as you can early in the morning; a grey start to the day makes it harder to wake up. Similarly, keep the lights low before bed, as bright lights will tell you it's not night-time yet.
24. Practice yoga. Doing yoga, which combines meditation and relaxation, can help fight insomnia. Try a few sessions per week.
25. Crunch celery or lettuce before bed; strange though it may seem, these are in fact natural sedatives! Or, if you don't fancy a salad bowl for supper, try this; blend 1 stick of celery or 4 leaves of a watery lettuce (like iceberg lettuce) and add the purée to a glass of warm milk.