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Tips for Healthy Sleep

You may sleep better.
Since 1995 - Everything you wanted to know about sleep but were too tired to ask

You should wake up refreshed in the morning without the use of an alarm clock and feel energetic all day. If not you may find some good tips below.

Sleep deprivation is a large proportion
of the problem is due to the high paced
lifestyle causing the lack of time to get
the sleep we need. When we do not get the
amount of sleep we need we accumulate a sleep debt. This sleep debt has to be
paid back or sleepiness will continue to
worsen. Many people try to pay back the
debt on the weekends resulting in the
disruption of their circadian rhythm.

Here are some Tips that may help.

  • Sleep is as important as food and air. Quantity and quality are very important. Most adults need between 7.5 to 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you press the snooze button on the alarm in the morning you are not getting enough sleep. This could be due to not enough time in bed, external disturbances, or a sleep disorder.
  • Keep regular hours. Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day. Getting up at the same time is most important. Getting bright light, like the sun, when you get up will also help. Try to go to bed only when you are sleepy. Bright light in the morning at a regular time should help you feel sleepy at the same time every night.
  • Keep a worry journal. Many times thoughts and thinking will keep us from relaxing and getting to sleep. Try keeping a small notebook next to you with a pen and when thinking or thoughts persist write them down using a book light or another source of dim light. Writing them down will help to forget about them and allow for a peaceful sleep onset.
  • Frequent trips to bathroom. First, if you need to get up to use the bathroom avoid bright light. Keep mini flashlight next to your bed and use it to navigate your way to the bathroom. There are several things that can cause bathroom trips during sleep. Avoid fluids prior to and during the night. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes frequent urination during the night and may need to be considered. Another possibility can be an enlarged prostrate. If you are avoiding fluids and still have the problem you should talk to your doctor.
  • Dealing with noise . If you live near a busy street or have problems dealing with any type of noise consider a white noise generator. No need to spend a lot of money on a electronic system, an old fan puts out great white noise. White noise masks disruptive noises.
  • Stay away from stimulants like caffeine. This will help you get deep sleep which is most refreshing. If you take any caffeine, take it in the morning. Avoid all stimulants in the evening, including chocolate, caffeinated sodas, and caffeinated teas. They will delay sleep and increase arousals during the night.
  • Use the bed for sleeping. Avoid watching TV or using laptop computers. Know that reading in bed can be a problem if the material is very stimulation and you read with a bright light. If it helps to read before sleep make sure you use a very small wattage bulb to read. A 15 watt bulb should be enough. Bright light from these activities may inhibit sleep.
  • Use the bed for sleeping Part 2. For many people sex should be avoided in the bed. Performance issues can cause anxiety and stress, one partner may be ready for sleep while the other feels neglected, etc. These experiences can create anxiety towards the bed. If you prefer having sex in the bed it should happen earlier in the day so it isn't connected to a relaxing preparation for sleep.
  • Avoid bright light around the house before bed. Using dimmer switches in living rooms and bathrooms for a few hours before bed can be helpful. Dim light helps the brain produce melatonin. (Dimmer switches can be set to maximum brightness for morning routines.)
  • Keep bedroom dark . Using Even a night light can disturb sleep. Use light blocking curtains on your windows to block outside light if needed.
  • Don't stress if you feel you are not getting enough sleep. It will just make matters worse. Know you will sleep eventually.
  • Avoid exercise near bedtime. No exercise at least 3 hours before bed.
  • Don't go to bed hungry. Have a light non-spicy snack, avoid a heavy meal before bed.
  • Bedtime routines are helpful for good sleep. Keep routines on your normal schedule. A cup of herbal tea an hour before bed can begin a routine.
  • Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night. It can cause anxiety. This is very difficult for most of us, so turn the clock away from your eyes so you would have to turn it to see the time. You may decide not to make the effort and go right back to sleep.
  • If you can't get to sleep for over 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light till you are sleepy.
  • Keep your bedroom at comfortable temperature. Not too warm and not too cold. Cooler is better than warmer.
  • Know that the "night cap" has a price. Alcohol may help you to get to sleep but it will cause you to wake up throughout the night. You may not notice it. (It is worse if you have sleep apnea because the alcohol makes the apnea worse.) Sometimes people snore only if they have had some alcohol or may snore worse if they already snore.)
  • If you have a sleeping partner, ask them if they notice any snoring, leg movements and/or pauses in breathing . Take this information and try the sleep test. You may have a sleep disorder or you may just need to increase your awareness about your own sleep need. If you have any concerns see your doctor.


Take the Sleep Test and see how you score.

Best wishes and Sweet Dreams,

Sandman

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