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February 17, 2018

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How to Sleep Well Every Night of the Week

January 27, 2018

One of the best ways to sleep well is to develop a bedtime ritual which you practice every night, even on those nights when you don't have to be up early the following morning. This ritual should include a realistic time at which you go to bed and wake up and should be practised even on those days when you don't need to set your alarm clock.

 

 

 

Wind down before you go to sleep and prepare your body and mind in the right way. If you have a lot on your mind, try writing a to-do list so that you can "move" those concerns that are troubling you to somewhere else. Similarly, avoid anything that may cause you stress or anxiety. Engage in something that has a calming effect such as reading a book or completing a puzzle.

 

Make your bedroom inviting and somewhere you want to retire to. Have a comfortable mattress and pillows. Most mattresses are good for around 10 years, so if yours is older, then you might want to consider buying a new one. Keep your bedroom cool; set the temperature to between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure there's nothing to disturb you (this includes your cellphone). If necessary, use black-out blinds, eye-shades, and earplugs (ear plugs are particularly useful if your partner snores).

 

Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom. In addition, you might want to consider what you view before bedtime as it may affect your sleep. A 2017 survey by University of Pittsburgh researchers found that engaging in social media within 30 minutes of bedtime was associated with distributed sleep among young adults (aged 19-32 years) regardless of the total time spent on such sites during the day.

 

As well as turning off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime, avoid eating a heavy meal, and drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, immediately before you go to sleep. A light snack before bedtime may help with sleep, particularly if you find you wake in the middle of the night with a growling, empty stomach. Wholegrain crackers and cheese, or almond butter spread on a rice cake are good choices for a pre-bedtime snack. This is because tryptophan, an amnino acid found in protein-rich foods such as cheese and nuts, creates seratonin in the body which is believed to aid sleep. Combine these foods with carbohydrates to help the body get the most benefit from tryptophan.

 

If you find that you have no trouble falling asleep, but that you wake some hours later, then try a form of simple meditation such as counting or focusing on your breathing. Try not to let your mind wander, as once your brain starts to think of worrisome thoughts, it will be difficult to switch it off.

 

Waking in the night frequently and not being able to get back to sleep could be the sign of an underlying health issue such as anxiety or depression. If this is the case then you will need to speak to your doctor to discuss treatment. However, it's important to note that as we age we are less able to maintain a continuous uninterrupted period of sleep, so it's not uncommon to experience fragmented sleep. It's estimated that beyond the age of 65, adults need only around seven to eight hours of sleep on average. Furthermore, it's natural for us all to wake at various stages during the night as we sleep in cycles of 90 minutes. If you do wake and can't get back to sleep within around 20 minutes, try getting up and moving to another room and doing something relaxing under low light until you feel you are ready for sleep.

 

The above steps should go some way to help you get the rest you need. If you prepare your mind and body well for sleep and stick to a sleep schedule, you should find falling, and staying, asleep relatively simple.

 

 

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