It’s amazing how much your health and well-being depend on getting a good night’s sleep! Find out why a good night’s rest is so important, and get tips on how to sleep better!
The key to putting a finger on whether your sleep habits are healthy or need improving is to first make certain you are working on the right problem.
When being sleepy is not what it seems
You think you have all the classic signs of not getting enough rest so you put in extra effort at sleeping in, and trying to get quality sleep when you finally shut your eyes. But day-after-day you are still struggling with Mr. Sandman at your desk and thinking about taking a power nap. Actually, you might be suffering from TOO MUCH SLEEP! Read about how to spot the signs you are suffering from ‘sleep drunkenness’:
How to know when you are not getting enough sleep
Maybe you know you have shorted yourself on a few hours of sleep every night. Sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that a few hours of sleep is good enough. Often we ignore or try to ‘shake off’ the signs that it’s really time to get some shut-eye. Read these articles and find out just how badly you’ve been kidding yourself!
If you thought it is ok to miss sleep if you just catch up by sleeping in later, find out how even a little lack of sleep might be doing you serious harm!
Before you accuse someone of being a liar or overly forgetful, cut them some slack. They might be sleep-deprived:
Don’t blame Mr. Sandman for that sleepiness or tiredness you feel; maybe you need a drink of water:
Find out what’s keeping you up at night
Here are the top things that keep you from sleeping, and how to avoid them:
If you can’t sleep, sometimes the best thing to do is get out of bed!
Getting a little physical before bed can be very helpful when you are trying to wind down for the evening:
The key words are “a little physical.” There is some research that shows VIGOROUS exercise less than two or three hours before bed might keep you awake because it revs up your heart and metabolism!
If you are the ‘exercise before bed’-type, the key would be to find your own rhythm and decide whether it seems to help or take away from your ability to get some sleep.
The best road to a good night’s sleep might be through the kitchen! Find out some foods and other things around the house you can use that might help you get some quality Zs:
How to boost your own sleep clock
Our bodies produce melatonin naturally as a way to help regulate sleep. Sometimes your melatonin production can get thrown off by the seasons, the amount of light exposure before bed (like being on your mobile device or watching TV before bed!) or even by age – the level of melatonin we produce drops as we get older.
My new best friend at bedtime is my bottle of melatonin. Falling asleep and staying asleep has become so much easier since discovering melatonin supplements – and without any side-effects or dependency. Check out more about melatonin and give it a try yourself! You can find it very inexpensively at places like WalMart or CVS. When comparing prices, take careful note of how many milligrams you are buying. The tablets come in varying strengths ranging from 3 mg to 10 mg, and the number of tablets in the bottle can vary as well. Some sleep professionals recommend the smallest dose possible, maybe a little as 1 mg. My preference: the 10 mg tablets, which are often hard-to-find. You will have to experiment with the dose to make sure you balance how much it is helping, without leaving you groggy when you get up. It’s also important to take the dose one or two hours before you are hitting the hay. Allow yourself a few hours under the influence before you have to get up-and-at-’em. It’s also important to understand melatonin is NOT a sleeping pill, but a hormone that just helps set up and regulate your natural sleep cycle.
Some doctors recommend using melatonin for only a few nights at a time. There is some discussion against using melatonin regularly or if at all:
It would be a good idea to discuss your melatonin use with your doctor because there are medical reasons you might want to avoid melatonin – and there are reasons to take melatonin beyond just sleep regulation. Some frequent fliers tout melatonin as a great cure for jet lag.
Just to Be Close To You
Lack of sleep might be a good reason to do more snuggling and sheet wrestling! It shouldn’t take a lot of research for us to believe that being intimate is a great sleep booster. A good sheet wrestling session might be just what Mr. Sandman ordered, but if the thought of ‘squeaking the mattress’ seems like a bit much on those nights when you are dog tired, even a little skin-to-skin spooning might work in your favor for trying to get some Zs:
When it’s all in your head
For some people, it might come down to getting a rhythm back. Shift work and other external factors can push us to stay up late or get to bed at odd hours. A few days of that will throw-off your ‘circadian rhythm‘ and make it hard for your body to know when to wind down and get started producing your sleep hormone. So, sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a good look at your ‘sleep hygiene’ and make sure that you are setting yourself up with habits that will help you get a good night’s sleep, regularly.
Getting a good night’s sleep might be a challenge because the work you have waiting for you tomorrow is looming large in your mind. Here are some articles with tips on how to get the right ‘tomorrow’ frame-of-mind.
Please comment below to share some of your favorite get-to-sleep techniques, or let me know how some of my suggestions worked for you! And be sure to share this blog with a friend who might be having issues getting to sleep.
“Angel Sleeps” by planetchopstick/Flickr Creative Commons