Sleep Tips

May 2, 2017

Do any of these things describe you at night?

 

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Toss and turn in the middle of the night

  • Wake up too early

  • Do not feel refreshed on waking

 

You are not alone! Help is here! By making some changes and developing good bedtime habits, you can achieve a consistently better sleep. Here are some excellent tips to help you.

1. Create a better sleep environment

The key to better sleep might be as simple as making some minor changes to your bedroom. Look around your bedroom and put yourself into the shoes of someone other than yourself. Does your bedroom make you want to sleep there? Is it cluttered or messy, noisy, hot, or full of electronic equipment with lights?

 

2. Your bed
Does your mattress allow you to sleep in an anatomically neutral position – or do you wake up with pain, for example a sore neck or headache? Only choose a scientifically proven mattress. Look for a mattress that has specific zones for your head, shoulders, back, and hips.
 
Is your mattress old… a family heirloom passed down from your grandmother? Did you know that even a one-year old mattress can gather bacteria, and millions of dust mites?
 
Can you wash your mattress or other bedding? Did you know that an average person sweats somewhere between 250ml and one litre a night?
 
3. Your room
Ideally, to maximise sleep, your room should be quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature and ventilation.
 

4. No television in the bedroom

You may have a television in your bedroom and use it to relax at the end of a long hard day and eventually fall asleep. For good sleep, it is best to remove television and any other electronic devices from your bedroom as they stimulate you and take your mind away from falling asleep. Also, some appliances like your alarm clock produce electro-magnetic waves which can interrupt your natural sleep cycles.

 

5. Exercise regularly but not before bed
Ideally, schedule your exercise in the morning or early afternoon. Don’t exercise at night if you can avoid it as it stimulates the body, raising its temperature. At bedtime, you want to achieve a cooler body temperature which will help you sleep.  
 
6. Get some light to set your body clock
Our internal clocks are sensitive to light and dark and are what helps us to regulate sleep. To assist your internal clock, do its job, when you get up, open the shades, turn on the light, or go outside to get some sunlight.
 
7. Avoid napping
Some people can do it regularly, but if you are the type who has trouble sleeping at night, don’t nap. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and sleep no longer than about thirty minutes. 
 
8. Don’t eat too much before bed
Don’t eat too much during the evening, and avoid fatty foods. After eating dinner, wait for about three hours before going to bed. Try something that is calcium rich like milk, and avoid heavy protein.
 
9. Avoid drinking too much liquid immediately before bed
Drinking lots of fluid may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.
 
10.Avoid alcohol before bed 
Do you like a nightcap before bed? It might make you fall asleep faster but alcohol reduces your sleep quality. For better sleep quality, avoid alcohol for several hours before bed.
 
11. No coffee after lunch
Caffeine stays in your system for several hours. If you have trouble sleeping, make your last coffee for the day at lunchtime and it will make a difference to how you sleep.
 
12. Give up smoking
Nicotine is a stimulant, which will affect you getting off to sleep, and nicotine withdrawal during the night will disrupt your sleep, so if you have trouble sleeping, it might be time to give up.
 
13. Keep a regular bedtime schedule, including weekends 
I know this is hard because everyone loves a sleep in.  Try each day to change your bedtime and/or wake up time, five minutes earlier or later each day will over time, regulate your bedtime schedule, and you will notice the difference.
 
14. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea before bed
Some herbal teas like valerian, or lavender can produce a very pleasant drowsy feeling.
 
15. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine
A relaxing routine before bed sends a signal to your brain that it is time to wind down, making it easier to fall asleep. A relaxing bedtime routine will help quiet both your body and mind.
 

16. Avoid long-term use of sleep medications

Some sleep aids can cause some serious health issues when used over a long period of time. Rather than relying on sleep medications, try to identify the underlying reason why you cannot sleep and make some conscious steps to improve your sleep naturally!

 

This blog is for information only. For health advice specific to you, please consult your Health Professional.

 

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