You think sleep is natural, but many people struggle to get to sleep at night. I was recently browsing sleep aids in my local pharmacy and was surprised to see such a large section, so I concluded it is a common problem that affects many people.
The amount of sleep you need is different for each person. Just because your friend can survive on 6 to 8 hours sleep a night, doesnít necessarily mean that you can too.
If you are struggling to get enough rest each night, here are a number of things you can try.
Relax before you go to bed
Itís important not to rush around all day, climb into bed and expect to fall asleep immediately. For the last hour or two of your day, you should engage in something that is less physically demanding as well as relaxing on your eyes. Books and ebooks are relaxing, but screens with a backlight are not. Try not to look at screens Ė TV or computer Ė for 2 hours before going to bed. Also, having a bath or shower before bed will help you relax. Hot baths are especially known to make you sleepy.
Have a good bedtime routine
There are a number of things you need to do before you go to sleep at night, so have a routine that is the same every night, and begin it by slowing down what you do. The body likes routine, and especially in the evening.
Relax while in bed
If you canít sleep because you are tense, try some relaxation exercises. One is to relax one foot, then the other foot, then your hands and relax each part of your body one by one. Concentrating on relaxing a small part of your body may help all of it to relax enough to sleep.
Breathe in as much as you can and then keep breathing in, hold it and slowly let the air out of your lungs. Doing this a few times will help your body relax.
Counting is said to help some people get to sleep. The trick is to count and only concentrate on saying the numbers. If your mind wanted off the numbers, then start again. Some people prefer to count forwards, while others find it easier to fall asleep by counting backwards.
White noise in your bedroom
Some people canít get to sleep because itís too quiet and prefer some white noise. This is noise that is a neutral, monotone sound such as a radio that is not on any channel, or a fan running in the background. This works especially well for babies or children. Personally, I would go for something that is low on electricity, so I donít think a fan is such a good idea. If you need something to listen to, use music rather than the television.
Have a dark bedroom
Even a small amount of light can keep you awake. The darker your room is, the better. Donít have anything in your bedroom that makes a light. Have thick curtains and leave all electronics out of your bedroom. Donít sleep with a night light on.
Donít turn the light on to go to the bathroom
If you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, try to avoid putting on a bright light in the bathroom as this will wake up your eyes and you will have trouble falling back asleep afterward. If you need some light, then use a night-light in the bathroom.
Be comfortable in bed
Donít wear itchy night-clothes. Have a bed that is a pleasure to sleep in. Make sure you have a firm mattress and comfortable bed sheets. Donít forget to buy yourself a really great pillow. If your bed isnít a nice place to be, you wonít be able to relax there. In addition, if your bedroom is full of clutter you may find it difficult to relax in your bedroom.
Lavender is known to help sleep. Just the scent of lavender is known to promote relaxation. Keep an open bottle of essential lavender oil in your bedroom or sleep with a lavender pillow.
Have the bedroom the right temperature
The ideal bedroom should be a little on the cold side and your bed should have many covers, some of which can be thrown off if you get too hot.
Your bedroom needs fresh air
Make sure you ventilate your bedroom during the day. Otherwise the air you breathe in the night will be stale. For better air quality, make sure that some of it is fresh each day by opening your windows for a while during daylight hours, or better still, sleep with your windows open.
Go to bed early
The hours of sleep before midnight are better quality than the hours after midnight. You think if you go to bed late you can sleep in, but you really donít get the quality unless you have an early night.
Calm the mind
Sleep happens when we are extremely relaxed. Many of these tips, deep breathing, counting, etc, are just tricks to get us relaxed. The key to falling asleep is being ready to fall asleep at the right time and then being relaxed and calm.
Melatonin is naturally made in the brain during the day. Some people who canít sleep have a deficiency of melatonin, and so take supplements. There is a lot of debate about the long term effects of taking melatonin every day, but taking it occasionally doesnít appear to be a problem. Melatonin is often used as a way to reduce jet lag.
There are medications you can take, including NyQuil, Benadryl, or Tylenol PM. Just that taking them for a long time isnít a good idea.
Zzzquil Nighttime Sleep-aid Liquicaps, 48 Count