Do you lay awake night after night? Either you’re not comfortable or you’re not able to shut your mind off? Join the club. I’ve heard that anywhere from one-third to one-half of all American adults have trouble falling asleep, either sometimes or all the time. This is a sad fact, considering the great benefits we derive from sleep. It reduces stress for one thing. I can safely say we can all use less stress. I have also heard that lower stress can aid in weight loss. This is a great secondary benefit. Along with stress reduction, sleeping allows our body to recharge and be ready for another day. We are more alert and can think more clearly. This is great especially for those with mentally demanding jobs.
We should first understand what makes for good sleep. The standard thinking is that about eight hours per day is enough. But everyone is different. Some people need more and others need less. We can know what is right for us by recalling how many hours we slept on those mornings we woke up refreshed. If that doesn’t work, then we might need to experiment to find our ideal number.
Laying in bed for eight hours is not the same as actually sleeping, however. If you tend to wake up a lot, you might consider what factors cause you to awaken. Are you having trouble breathing? Possibly you should change positions, or go into a sleep study and see if you need a CPAP machine to assist in your breathing. They are very quiet these days. Do you need to use the bathroom a lot? Possibly you are drinking too many liquids too close to bedtime. Try tapering off about two hours prior and see if that helps. Is something in your room waking you up such as the television or a ticking clock? It is critical to eliminate these various distractions.
You should consider your bed as the thing you sleep on and not the place where you watch TV or work on your computer. Your brain will start to make the connection if you allow it to. Also, you are going to spend at least a third of your life on your bed, so it should be comfortable. Mattresses and sleep systems can get pricey. But if you consider how much time you spend in your bed, it is probably worth the money. Also make sure your sheets are comfortable. They shouldn’t be dirty or too stiff. Be sure to have a good blanket or comforter set; something you look forward to snuggling up under.
Other factors that can help you sleep are the room temperature. We tend to sleep best when the room is cooler and we are able to pull up the sheet or a light blanket. An ideal sleeping temperature would be between 65 and 70 degrees. If there are distracting noises, try a fan to produce white noise, or some soft music. The room should be dark. If it’s not possible to get the room dark, then try using a mask. Change out your pillow if it’s not comfortable. Or try laying in a new position if you find you’re uncomfortable or body parts are falling asleep.
When trying to cultivate a good environment for sleeping, keep in mind these activities to avoid. For example, some people think that a couple of drinks before bed will help them relax and get to sleep. And they might. The problem is that as the alcohol wears off you may find yourself waking up. Then you struggle to go back to sleep again. Eating too close to bedtime can also be a problem because now your body is trying to digest. And it can be uncomfortable to lay down if your stomach is full. If you exercise regularly, you should not do it too close to bedtime because it stimulates rather than relaxes. Give yourself two to three hours between exercise and sleep. Ideally, a walk after dinner stimulates the digestion and still gives you a couple of hours before bedtime.
A routine is really important if you struggle to sleep. The first step is to figure out your ideal number of sleeping hours. Next, try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day. Keep your routine even on the weekends. If by chance you stay up too late one night then try to take a nap the next afternoon. Be sure to remove all distractions such as phones ringing or televisions blaring. Turn down ringers and turn off the set. Your body is like Pavlov’s dog. If you repeat the process enough times your body will begin to respond.
The last step is to get your mind to turn off. If you’re like most of us, you lay in bed you are thinking about all the things you have to do tomorrow. Or, you are running through everything that happened today. You remind yourself over and over about everything you said or did or did not do. This is a terrible distraction. If you must, keep a notebook by your bed and write down whatever is bothering you so that you can let it go until morning. If that’s not enough, try putting on some soft music and make yourself listen to it until you drop off. I know some people who turn on their mp3 players and listen to them with music or audio books turned down very softly. By focusing your mind on this one thing, you shut out the other distractions.
It’s important to practice these things daily until they become a habit. Soon your body will begin to anticipate bedtime. You will crawl into bed and curl up under your covers and be able to drift off much more quickly.
About Author: Norita Sieffert has traveled extensively looking for helpful hints on a variety of topics. She has gathered information on many subjects, including getting the best sleep of your life. To read more interesting facts about a lot of things, visit her articles page at http://www.cozycottagedecor.com/articles. To find some fantastic comforter sets and make your room perfect, visit her online store at http://www.cozycottagedecor.com/comfortersets.