Are you Sleeping or Counting Sheep – Part 2

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the benefits of sleep and how important it is to get enough sleep.  Well, for those of you who know that sleep is very important to our general health and well being but don’t know the steps to take to get a good nights sleep, I am here to give you a few tips that may help you:

  • Be consistent: Go to bed and get up the same time everyday, even on weekends, holidays and days off.  Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
  • Have a routine: Do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down. Maybe take a warm bath or read a good book.
  • Be creative with your sleep environment: Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Cool, dark and quiet. Maybe room darkening shades or a fan or other device to create an ideal sleeping environment.
  • Set clear boundaries: Mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep. If you share your bed make sure there is enough room for two. If you have animals or children, set limits how often they can sleep with you.
  • Minimize those catnaps: Long daytime nap can interfere with nighttime sleep, especially if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor quality sleep at night. Limit yourself to 10 to 30 minutes the most.
  • Exercise early: Regular physical activity can promote better sleep.  Exercise or walk earlier in the day and not to close to bedtime.
  • Jot it down: Too much to do and too much to think about- your sleep can suffer. Getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks you can start with. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
  • Drink less before bedtime: Limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent middle-of-night trips to the bathroom.
  • Lessen those stimulants: Nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can cause havoc with quality sleep. Also alcohol  may make you feel sleepy at first but it can disrupt your sleep later that night.
  • Eating: Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. If you can’t fall asleep within a 15-minute period, get up and try again later.

There are a few over the counter natural sleeping supplements that seem to work if you are still having a problem with sleeping.  Ask your pharmacist for a natural non-narcotic sleep aid or contact your doctor for help.