Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 30 percent of the general population reports disrupted sleep. This can lead to fatigue, lack of energy, changes in mood, and trouble concentrating on tasks. Here are a few easy tips to try to improve your sleep:
Room Temperature – Have you ever gone to bed chilly and woken up in the morning sweating? This occurs due to our core body temperature decreasing as we go to sleep and rising as we get closer to waking up in the morning. Set the thermostat in your room at a cool temperature to help promote sleep.
Bedding – layer sheets and light blanks so that they can be easily added or removed throughout the night as core body temperature changes.
Mattress – a mattress that is too firm or too soft for your body can lead to aches and pains that make sleep uncomfortable. Try different levels of firmness to find what’s right for you.
Light – our bodies begin to secrete melatonin when exposed to dim light or darkness. This signals to the body that it’s time to go to sleep. Try to avoid electronics with stimulating lights, such as phones, tablets, tv, etc…, for at least an hour before bed.
Hydration – it’s important to stay hydrated, however, if you find that you have frequent nighttime urination, try to decrease fluid intake during the evening hours.
Sound – While we are sleeping, we often hear noises that might be outside or in other areas of the house that wake us up, whether we are aware that they are waking us up or not. Consider using white noise to cancel out these sounds to help improve sleep. Many free apps are available for your phone or tablet that offer a selection of relaxing sounds to choose from.
Stress – The quiet and stillness that we encounter when we go to bed can often lead to loud thoughts and worries in our mind. If you find that your mind because busy with trying to problem solve when you are trying to fall asleep, try setting aside a few quiet minutes to yourself before bed to write your thoughts and worries. Physically writing thoughts out on paper often helps clear them out of our head, leading to a more relaxed state when we lay down to go to sleep.
Remember, we are nearly awake at the end of each sleep cycle throughout the night, so don’t panic if you wake up during the night! Try to tell yourself that this is normal and that you will go back to sleep, so as not to get worked up or anxious about waking up.
Please note: consult with your physician if you are having chronic sleep problems that do not improve, as further intervention may be needed.
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