Read more articles from Ron Tustin. For people itchy to make things better
People who snore always fall asleep first. ~ Author Unknown
Recently I saw a good article developed by Stratos Ltd primarily for people affected by the Canterbury earthquake. However the problem of lack of sleep affects most of us at some time, especially when we are worrying or feel overloaded. So here is a summary of the information.
Try to keep to a reasonably regular sleep schedule
We all feel much more refreshed and energised if we keep a regular and consistent sleep schedule. Try as far as possible to:
- Set a regular bedtime.
- Wake up at the same time every day.
When we are getting enough sleep, we should be able to wake without relying on the alarm clock, because our bodies have developed a sleep pattern.
- Nap to make up for lost sleep rather than sleeping in.
- Fight after–dinner drowsiness.
If we give in to after dinner drowsiness, we may wake up during the night and then have trouble getting back to sleep. It is better to do something to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes or calling a friend.
Make your bedroom “sleep friendly”
- Turn off your television
Even the most relaxing programme or movie can interfere with the body’s clock due to the continuous flickering light coming from the TV or computer screen. Instead try soft music.
- Keep noise down
We all sleep better when the bedroom is quiet. If there are noises you can’t avoid such as barking dogs or traffic, try masking it with a fan or recordings of soothing sounds. Earplugs may also help.
- Keep the room dark and cool
Most people sleep best in a room which is around 18°C that has adequate ventilation.
- Make sure the bed is comfortable
If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to consider a new mattress or a try a different pillow.
- Reserve the bed for sleeping
If going to bed is associated with events like catching up on emails, texting etc, it will be harder to wind down and get to sleep.
Relaxing routines make it easier to get to sleep.
If we relax and unwind before bed, we will sleep easier and more deeply.
Some relaxing bedtime rituals are:
- Some light reading.
- Listening to a talking book
- Taking a warm bath
- Listening to soft music
- Enjoying a light snack
- Doing some easy stretches
- Gentle yoga
- Have your partner give you a relaxing massage
- By writing a list of things we need to do the next day, before we go to bed, it will stop us trying to remember them.
Things to avoid which make it harder to go to sleep or get a good night’s sleep
- Try not to eat late. Aim to finish your evening meal two or three hours before your normal bed time.
- Avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed.
- Avoid alcohol before bed.
- Avoid caffeine 6-8 hours before going to bed
- Exercise in the morning or late afternoon
- Do not engage in activities that cause you anxiety and prevent you from sleeping.
Learn some relaxation techniques to help you get to sleep
Some simple relaxation techniques include:
- Deep breathing.
- Progressive muscle relaxation.
- Visualizing a peaceful, restful place.
(If you want more information on theses please email me.)
What about medical or natural remedy assistance to help you get to sleep?
If you think that you need sleeping pills or such like to help you sleep see your doctor.
You can also talk to your local pharmacy or natural health store about non prescription and natural sleep assistance. Many people find lavender based gels or creams helpful, or put lavender drops on their pillow. You may also find a relaxation CD works for you.
Ways of getting to sleep if you are having trouble or getting back to sleep when you wake in the night.
If you do not fall asleep within about 30 minutes after turning out the light, get up, go to another room, and do something that is not too arousing (for example, read a magazine, listen to some gentle music, do some ironing). Stay up as long as you wish, and then return to your bedroom to sleep. The goal is to associate your bed with falling asleep.
Get stress and anxiety in check
Stress and worry, or issues that have arisen during the day can make it very difficult to sleep well:
- Learn how to manage your thoughts
I will talk about this in more detail next month but in the meantime a book I would recommend is “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris.
- Learn some stress management techniques
If the stress of managing work, family, or school is keeping you awake, learning how to manage your time effectively, handling stress in a productive way, and maintaining a calm, positive outlook, will help you to sleep better.
Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. – Thomas Dekker
Revive and Thrive Coaching