Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for maintaining our health and well being. Sleep allows us to function better in our daily lives and also serves a variety of purposes from restorative purposes to memory processing. That said, we’ve probably all had times when we’ve found it difficult to sleep, and many people suffer recurring sleep problems or even primary insomnia. So what can we do to get a good night’s sleep?
Of course, there are many over-the-counter remedies available to help you combat sleeplessness, but there are also plenty of tried and tested methods to help ensure that you get the best sleep you can get.
Stress: By far and away one of the most common causes of temporary or longer term insomnia is stress. Worrying about something and having an overly active mind can impinge on our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
There are a number of ways to combat stress, and many of them depend on the kind of stress you are suffering from. Most physicians recommend keeping a notepad by the bed to write down any worries before bed.
Exercise: is a great way to encourage sleep since by working your muscles and making them tired you can induce sleepiness by increasing your body’s need for rest. If you find it hard to sleep, try taking a brisk walk or going for a bicycle ride in the evening before bed. Raising your overall level of activity, especially if you lead a fairly sedentary life, will also help your longer term sleeping patterns, as well as having positive effects on your health!
Relaxation: It may sound almost contrary to the above, but relaxation should also be an important part of your daily life. If you’re someone who’s “on the go” all the time, you might find it hard to relax when it comes to bed time because your mind is still busy with the day’s events. Wind down in the evenings by reading a book before bed, taking a warm bath or even practicing slow stretching and deep breathing exercises.
Avoid caffeine, not just before bedtime, but also large quantities of caffeine during the day. Not only does the stimulant effect of caffeine in drinks such as coffee, tea or energy drinks keep you awake for longer, but caffeine also reduces your ability to get good quality sleep. Light, fitful sleep is almost as bad as not having any sleep at all.
Quality of bed: A good quality, comfortable bed and supportive pillows can make all the difference too and can stop you feeling achy and tired the next morning. Make sure that you have some thick blackout curtains to shut out the light, especially in summertime when the evenings are light – after all, it’s just as important to prepare your sleeping environment for a good night’s sleep as well as preparing your body.
-- Important: The Sleep Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, this website provides general information for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider if you have questions or concerns regarding any medical condition or treatment.