How to get a good night’s sleep

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Spend more time outside during daylight. Take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night. Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window. If necessary, use a light therapy box. This simulates sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days.

Avoid bright screens within hours of your bedtime.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive. You can minimize the impact by using devices with smaller screens, turning the brightness down, or using light-altering software such as f. Say no to late-night television. Not only does the light from a TV suppress melatonin, but many programs are stimulating rather than relaxing. Try listening to music or audio books instead. Use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows, or try a sleep mask. Also consider covering up electronics that emit light.

Keep the lights down if you get up during the night. If you need some light to move around safely, try installing a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom or using a small flashlight. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep. People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day.

Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol.

How to Sleep Better

Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep. Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime. Limit caffeine and nicotine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Avoid big meals at night.

A Good Night's Sleep

Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Avoid alcohol before bed. Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Drinking lots of fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs.


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For some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. Learn to do what many sleep laboratories teach -- go to bed later the night after losing sleep. Stop studying and don't get into any stimulating discussions or activities a half hour or hour before bed. Do something that's relaxing -- read "light" material, play your guitar, listen to music that is quiet, catch a mindless TV show.

Some people sleep better in a clean and neat environment, so they like to straighten and clean their room just before going to bed. Find your own sleep-promoting routine. Take a long, hot bath before going to bed. This helps relax and soothe your muscles. Showers, on the other hand, tend to wake you up. Insomniacs should avoid showers in the evening.

Keep a pad and pencil handy. If you think of something you want to remember, jot it down.

Learn self-shiatsu to help get a better night's sleep

Then let the thought go. There will be no need to lie awake worrying about remembering it. Some people find that a gentle stretching routine for several minutes just before getting into bed helps induce sleep. Others practice relaxation techniques. Libraries or bookstores have books on developing stretching or relaxation routines. Stressed Out Over Studying?

Some sleep centers recommend a light breakfast and lunch to help you stay alert during the day. They advise you to make the evening meal the major meal of the day.

How can I get a better night’s sleep?

Schedule it at least four hours before bedtime so your digestive system will be reasonably quiet by the time you're ready to sleep. It helps some people to have a glass at bedtime. Milk has an essential amino acid, tryptophan, which stimulates the brain chemical serotonin, believed to play a key role in inducing sleep.

A piece of whole wheat bread, or another carbohydrate, enhances the effect. Or try taking tryptophan, beginning with about two grams about an hour before bedtime. A piece of wheat bread will help the tryptophan to be absorbed. Caffeine, a chemical in coffee, colas, tea, chocolate, etc. Some sleep laboratories encourage people to avoid such tyrosine-laden foods as fermented cheeses cheddar is about the worst; cottage cheese and yogurt are OK , ripe avocados, some imported beers, and fermented meats bologna, pepperoni, salami.

Also avoid red wines, especially chianti. Alcohol might help you get to sleep, but it results in shallow and disturbed sleep, abnormal dream periods, and frequent early morning awakening. Reasons to avoid sleeping pills include disturbed sleep patterns, short-term amnesia, and impaired motor skills. Research shows that benzodiazepine hypnotics, the most commonly prescribed sleeping pills, impair short-term memory, reaction time, thinking, and visual-motor coordination such as driving.

Sleep in a cool room 60 degrees or so. Pile on another blanket or add one under the mattress pad rather than turn up the heat. A physician I know used this principle while in medical school; he kept an air conditioner on in his room all year. He said it helped him sleep better so that he needed less sleep. You don't need to go to such extremes, but do keep it cool. Even a little thing like a dry throat may make sleeping more difficult. Most heating systems dry the air in your bedroom, so borrow a humidifier to see if it will help. Keeping heat down and having a window open can also keep humidity up.

Some people seem to sleep better if there is a white noise -- a fan running, for example -- in the background. For others, noise can interrupt sleep. In addition to the fan strategy, try particular kinds of music to blot out the noise. Play a recording of music that has no words, no definite melody, and not a lot of change in the volume. Baroque music is a good choice. There are many tapes of sounds that aid sleep by quieting the mind, emotions, and body.

Check at the counseling center, at a mental health center, or holistic health center. If desperate, you might try ear plugs that workers use on noisy jobs. If you use cotton, be sure to use balls large enough that they won't work down into your ear canal and have to be removed by a physician. Focusing on insomnia might make it worse. After all, you won't die from it! It is frequently a symptom of something else excessive worry or anxiety about grades, money, relationships, etc. If you think a particular worry might be keeping you awake, get up, find paper and a pencil, and jot down something you can do about that worry tomorrow.

Put the note where you'll see it when you wake up. You can set aside your worry and use the remainder of the night for restful sleep. If necessary, use the strategies already described to get back into a regular sleep pattern.


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  • In bed and unable to sleep? If you are in bed and unable to sleep, many experts suggest getting completely out of bed, sitting in a chair, and reading, writing letters, or doing some quiet activity.

    As you get sleepy, go back to bed and use a relaxation technique to fall asleep. First of all, keep regular sleeping hours. This programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule. If you need more ideas, you can get help and advice from your GP. Your bedroom should be a relaxing environment. Keep your bedroom just for sleep and sex or masturbation. Unlike most vigorous physical activity, sex makes us sleepy. Fit some thick curtains if you don't have any.

    It can be a good idea to keep a sleep diary PDF, 55kb.

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