At some time, most of us have experienced what it’s like to have trouble falling asleep, to lie awake in the middle of the night, or feel sleepy and fatigued during the day.
Good, refreshing sleep is essential for health. There is no doubt that chronic insomnia is frustrating, but there is also evidence that insomnia is linked to early death and serious declines in quality of life.
Below are tips for a good nights sleep
- Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. These will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.
- Avoid caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and therefore they can feel the effects long after consuming it. So an afternoon cup of coffee (or even tea) will keep some people from falling asleep. Also, some medications, particularly diet pills contain caffeine.
- Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.
- Get Daily Exercise. Exercise for at least 30 minutes everyday can help you fall asleep. However, donʼt exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Try exercising in the morning, afternoon or early evening instead.
- Don’t Change Your Bedtime. You should go to bed, and wake up, at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
- Listen to White Noise or Relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep.
- Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. When light hits the eyes, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night.
- No TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep.
- Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.
- Get to bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11PM and 1AM. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver, which then secondarily backs up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.
- Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that this reduces night wakings.
- Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan need to produce melatonin and serotonin.
- Also eat a small piece of fruit. This can help the tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier.
- Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter may have effects on sleep.
- Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful nights sleep.
- Avoid foods that you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true for dairy and wheat products, as they may have effect on sleep, such as causing apnea, excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, and gas, among others.
- Don’t drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.
- Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep.
- Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it… 2 AM…3 AM… 4:30 AM…
- Keep Your Bed For Sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and to think of the bed as a place to sleep.
- Reading. This will help to relax. Donʼt read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours, instead of going to sleep.
- Melatonin and its precursors. If behavioral changes do not work, it may be possible to improve sleep by supplementing with the hormone melatonin.
- Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and seratonin.
- Have your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician. Scientists have found that Insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress.
- If you are menopausal or peri-menopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause problems if not properly addressed