Best Tips for Sleep at Night

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health. Pills that help you sleep are an option. However, suggests trying these non-medicated approaches first to see if they help.

1. Exercise

Getting regular exercise helps you stay in shape as well as regulate your sleep patterns. Exercise helps in releasing melatonin and other hormones that regulate sleep. The journal of Sleep published a study on the sleep behaviors of postmenopausal women which found that the subjects who worked out approximately 3.5 hours per week were able to fall asleep easier than those who worked out less. Since exercising can stimulate the body, it should not be done close to bedtime. Instead, working out in the morning is best. The exposure to sunlight in the morning will support your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

2. Use the bed for only sex and sleep

Avoid staying in bed for other activities like checking your email, talking on your phone, or watching TV. These activities stimulate you to stay awake and should not be associated with your bed where you want to sleep. Therefore, only use your bed for sex and sleep.

3. Make a comfortable environment

The environment of your bedroom impacts how well you sleep. TV is one of the things that can distract you from sleeping and should be avoided. Make your environment more conducive to sleeping like keeping your room quiet, turning off the lights, and keeping your room comfortably cool.

4. Follow a sleep routine

Think back on your childhood days when your parents helped you get ready for bed by reading you a bedtime story and tucking you in bed. These activities signaled your body to prepare to sleep. For adults, a bedtime routine signals the body in a similar manner. Taking a warm bath, drinking some warm milk, or playing soothing music to calm the mind can help your body and mind prepare for sleep.

5. Eat a little bit if hungry

Feeling hungry or too full can distract you from sleeping. Do not eat a big meal unless you can wait two to three hours before going to bed. If you’re hungry at bedtime, you can eat a light healthy snack like several whole-grain crackers or an apple with a bit of cheese. This can tie you over until the morning.

6. Do not consume anything with caffeine or alcohol

Alcohol and caffeine are stimulants. Some people say drinking a little wine helps them sleep, but it actually has an opposite effect and interrupts normal sleep at night. Chocolate and coffee should be avoided. Other types of food to avoid include spicy foods and items that are acidic, like citrus, which can trigger heartburn.

7. Keep your stress level low

Things that occur during the day can make you feel stressed out. Stress stimulates you. At night, when your mind is full of thoughts about demands from work and family, it can cause your mind to release a fight-or-flight hormone that keeps you awake. Therefore, learn to relax before you go to bed. Doing relaxation exercises during the day and as part of your bedtime routine can ease those anxieties and reduce your stress so you can sleep better. Try a deep breathing exercise by inhaling deeply and steadily, then exhaling slowing.

8. See your doctor

Sometimes not being able to sleep soundly can be a sign of medical conditions that interrupt sleep. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea. A burning sensation in your throat, chest or belly area might be a sign of GERD or reflux. If your leg seems to want to move all the time, you might have a restless leg syndrome. These are symptoms that should be evaluated by your doctor.

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