We all experience the occasional restless night; it’s frustrating. What’s more it can really make you feel like a wrung out dishrag for the whole of the next day. If you suffer from the odd restless night, then it’s usually nothing to worry about. For those who experience a bad nights sleep more often, there are a few things you should try before considering medication (even natural supplements) as the problem can often be eased simply by making just a few adjustments to your routine.
Here are ten tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
1. Get into a regular routine: Your body wants a regular sleep pattern so try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night. Just as important is to try to wake up at the same time in the mornings. Yes, even on weekends J
2. Your bedroom is NOT your extra lounge room: Making your bedroom the place where you rest, sleep and have sex is really important. Avoid lying in bed checking your iPad for emails or playing games – don’t have a tv in your room either. Your body needs programming so it knows that when you go to bed, you have gone there to sleep.
3. Get the environment conducive to sleep: Ensure that the bedroom is set up for sleeping. Make the room as quiet and as dark, as possible and control the temperature too, so that it is neither too hot, nor too cold. A good, comfortable bed is essential too, so if yours has some lumps and bumps in it, it might be time to buy a new one.
4. Stay off the caffeine: SO IMPORTANT to eliminate caffeine if you have difficulty sleeping. There are so many people who say they can have a coffee and go right to sleep, but it diminished the quality of your sleep profoundly. Caffeine can stay in the blood for up to twenty four hours, so even a heavy session in the coffee shop in the morning could affect your sleep that night.
5. Limit sleep-ins and daytime naps: Afternoon naps and long, weekend seep-ins are going to put your body’s internal clock out of sync, so limit these to a minimum. Even if you didn’t sleep well the night before, resist the urge to catch up in the day, or you will just have another restless night later on.
6. Don’t eat your evening meal too late: If you go to bed on a full stomach, your body will be so busy digesting that food that you will never get to sleep. A heavy meal, just before you go to bed, will make you feel uncomfortable and it will raise your metabolism too. Eat your evening meal with plenty of time left to digest it before you go to bed.
7. Try not stress: If you find yourself worrying about things at night, then tell yourself that you will deal with that in the morning. A good trick to help you not to worry at night is to write down all your concerns, before you go to bed, and write down what you are going to do about them. Then, with a plan in place, you should be able to sleep more easily.
8. Don’t drink alcohol to get you to sleep: Alcohol can make you sleepy, but that effect will wear off. Most people find that alcohol will get them to sleep, but then they will wake up in the night again, so avoid that late night tipple. It’s also never a good idea to get reliant on alcohol for anything, not even just for getting to sleep or relaxing.
9. Get more exercise: If you find yourself regularly not getting enough sleep, then taking more exercise during the day can help. Build in more walking into your daily routine or take up something like cycling. Don’t, however, exercise too close to bedtime, because that can keep you awake.
10. Have a night-time ritual: Create a routine for yourself that becomes your bedtime ritual. Do something to relax, like reading a book, taking a hot bath and drinking a warm, relaxing drink. If you repeat this ritual every evening, your body will learn that these are the signals that it should be prepared for sleep.
What are things that help you sleep better?
Time and time again I hear people ask "why do I feel so bad when they tell me there's nothing wrong?" My goal is to help solve your health problems, to get to the bottom of things, not just symptom control but to bring about a return to good health.