Everyone has an occasional “rough” night’s sleep...toss and turn, toss and turn. But if this happens too often there may be something you can do to fix it. Check the list below and try to incorporate as many of these techniques as you can.
1) No TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom or even out of the house, completely. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. Also TV is disruptive of pineal gland function for the same reason as above.
2) Read something spiritual or religious. This will help to relax you. Don’t read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours, instead of going to sleep.
3) Breathe, relax, and/or meditate right before getting into bed. Sit on the floor or a comfortable chair. Close your eyes. Be silent. Breathe for at last 5 full minutes.
4) Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that this reduces night wakings.
5) Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. When light hits the eyes, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night.
6) Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.
7) Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.
8) Keep the temperature in the bedroom no higher than 70 degrees. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot.
9) Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter affect your biochemistry and affect your quality of sleep.
10) Avoid caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and therefore they can feel the effects long after consuming it.
11) Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep.
12) Don’t drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.
13) Keep your bed for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and to think of the bed as a place to sleep.
14) Listen to White Noise or Relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep.
15) Daily exercise or physical activity. Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday can help you fall asleep. Move your body daily. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise but just move your body every day. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Try exercising in the morning, afternoon or early evening instead.
16) Don’t force it. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, get out of bed for a while. Stop forcing yourself to sleep. It never works! When you feel tired again, get back in bed and go to sleep.
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**This list adapted from Dr. Joseph Mercola @ www.mercola.com.