18 ways to improve your sleep

Sleep CD Improving the quality of your sleep means looking at your ‘sleep hygiene’. This is the term used by researchers and scientists to identify those habits and practices which result in a ‘good night’s sleep’. A lack of sleep causes many mental, emotional and physical ailments and conditions so it is worth investing a little time into ensuring great sleep hygiene and a healthy sleep.

The following tips may help you find a way to a great night’s sleep.

1    Caffeine is a natural stimulant which means it can keep you awake and alert. It affects different people in different ways and although it might not affect you there are some who only need to drink two sips of weak coffee and they end up with a restless and frustrating night.

2    Alcohol can send you to sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow (or before!) but it means that the vital REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is missed out. REM sleep should occur between 5 and 7 times a night to feel refreshed and ready for the day but alcohol causes the number of REM sleeps to decrease and then you wake up feeling exhausted and grumpy.

3    Is your bedroom conducive to restfulness and a quality sleep? The temperature needs to be between 60 and 70oF and well ventilated. A room that is too hot or too cold will interfere with a good night’s sleep.

4    How old is your mattress? The lifespan of a mattress is between 8 and 15 years and an old, lumpy mattress will not only disturb your sleep but muscles and bones will ache in the morning. When buying a new mattress, it is important to try it out before purchasing. Don’t be shy, lie on them and find one that is perfect for you.

5  Sress Free Kids have a wonderful range of stories, music and sounds to help with relaxation. Although the name suggests it is for children,there are many products in their range which will help adults.
Stress Free Kids

6    Fit curtains to block out the light. If you live in an area where there are bright street lights or ambient light it may be worth considering black out blinds to keep the room dark. If this isn’t possible try wearing an eye mask.

7    Establish a calm routine before going to sleep. Read a book or magazine, have a cup of relaxing herbal tea and listen to some soothing music.

8    Go to bed when you are tired. It is frustrating not to be able to sleep which makes you stressed and uptight which, in turn, keeps you from sleeping.

9    If you are tired during the day and can take a nap, make sure that it is earlier in the day rather than closer to bedtime.

10    If you have never had a look at iAmplify I recommend that you pop over and have a look. They have a vast selection of audio and video downloads but they have a wonderful range of relaxation, meditation and aids to a healthy sleep. The great thing is that there is no waiting for the post as they are downloaded straight away.

11    Eat your evening meal a few hours before bedtime. If you need to eat later in the evening, make sure it is something light and which doesn’t give you indigestion.

12    Drinking too much fluid before bedtime will mean those annoying visits to the toilet through the night but make sure you have enough to drink to stop you waking up thirsty.

13    According to the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester, cherries help the body to boost its supply of melatonin which is a hormone that helps to keep the sleep/wake cycle in sync. Bananas are good to aid the relaxation of muscles. So, maybe a banana and cherry smoothie before bed could help to give a restful sleep.

14    Sleep Drops are a New Zealand company dealing in natural sleep aid products. They can help adults, children and babies to develop healthy sleep patterns.
Sleepdrops - Natural Sleep Support

15    Ensure that you take some exercise during the day especially if you have a sedentary job. Take a brisk walk at lunch time or take the dog out in the evening.

 16    Relaxing before sleeping is, sometimes, easier said than done. It is good to know that relaxation is a skill that can be learnt and practice makes perfect. There are many products, tutorials and techniques which help with relaxation.

17    Don’t stress, it doesn’t help. In fact, stressing about a sleep problem will only make things worse.

18    It is important to remember that a sleep problem may signify a deeper issue which needs a medical consultation. If your sleep problems still persist after improving your sleep hygiene regime, seek advice from a doctor or a sleep specialist.

Sleep is an essential part of our lives. We cannot function to the best of our ability without a good healthy sleep so it is worth while looking for ways of improving this crucial part of life.

As always, there will be many other ways to have a good night’s sleep. If you have one that isn’t mentioned I would love to hear about it so I can add it to the list. Pop it into the comment box below and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.