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How to Improve Your Sleep

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Without sleep, you are unable to function effectively. Not only will you become more irritable but your concentration will suffer due to your poor sleep hygiene. In fact, being unable to sleep well can impact nearly every aspect of your life. So, it is very important to know how you can improve your sleep!

Thankfully there are a number of things you can do to better your habits and improve your sleep patterns, even if you suffer from severe bedtime issues such as insomnia. Remember you should be aiming for approximately 6-8 hours of quality sleep a night. Rather than resorting to the counting of sheep, try these suggestions and see the difference for yourself.

Reduce or avoid caffeine

It is well known that a large amount of caffeine can affect your ability to sleep. If you avoid, or at the very least, limit this stimulant, then you may just find you can enter the Land of Nod far more quickly. Try to avoid drinking coffee at least five to six hours before bedtime to see a dramatic difference.

Install shades or heavy curtains

It is difficult to sleep if there is light beaming through your window whether because of the sun or an outdoor lamp. Try blackout shades or heavy curtains to minimize any form of light coming in. At the very least, you might want to try an eye mask to ensure that you get as much sleep as possible.

Reduce noise at night

If there is a lot of external noise, it may be worth investing in some high-quality earplugs. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep when others have a different idea. Or perhaps you might want to purchase a white noise appliance, a fan or a humidifier to create a more relaxing setting.

Keep the room at an even temperature

It is hard to sleep in a hot room, or in a bedroom that is too cool. Try to maintain the temperature of your room between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and always ensure it is well ventilated, either with fresh air or via a fan. A stuffy room will not aid your ability to relax at all.

Reduce alcohol

While alcohol may make you feel drowsy, it can also act as a stimulant and interrupt your sleep pattern. It is important that you limit the amount of alcohol you consume on a daily basis and avoid drinking a few hours before bedtime to see any significant improvements.

Invest in a good mattress and pillow

When was the last time you changed your mattress or your pillow? Perhaps now would be an ideal opportunity to invest in something new? Mattresses and pillows do wear out, and as we age, we often need to upgrade to suit our body’s requirements.

Keep your bedroom electronic free

All too often, laptops and telephones enter the bedroom. Try to keep a defined area of the house electronic-free to make sure that no unwanted messages wake you up. Train the brain to associate your bed with sleep rather than with work or other online activities.

Take a bath before bed

Taking a bath before bed can relax your senses and release any stress you may have experienced during the day. Let it go. Soak in the bubbles or a nice aromatherapy blend and let all your worries disappear down the drain with the water.

Read a book

Often reading a book can be an effective way to promote drowsiness. A great book allows you to forget about your day and draws you into a different world. Your body will learn to let go, and your mind will separate itself from the events of the day. Sleep will not be far behind.

Avoid nicotine

Like alcohol, smoking before bed can interrupt your ability to sleep. While limiting nicotine is tough, you might want to consider giving up smoking if you find that failure to sleep is becoming a serious issue. Perhaps you can come up with another hobby as a replacement; preferably one that might be more prone to inducing sleep.

Practice relaxation exercises

Try doing some relaxation exercises to help your body and mind unwind. Some simple yoga poses or a guided meditation can help prepare your mind and body for bed. With a bit of practice, your body will be able to relax and accept that sleep is near.

Try to stick to a regular pattern

If you stick to a regular, consistent pattern of sleep, your internal clock will understand that it is time for bed as well as regulate your morning routine. Stay as close to your set bedtime as possible each night, including weekends.

Remove the clutter

Do you need to clear the clutter from your bedroom? Trying to sleep in a room which is crammed full of “stuff” can be exhausting. Sleeping in a room with minimal furniture can benefit the quality of your sleep overall. While you don’t have to become an expert in feng shui, getting rid of unwanted items will help.

Plan your naps

If you must nap, then do it earlier in the day. Anything past 5 pm will start to impact your ability to sleep at night. If you are not able to nap early, then it might be best to avoid napping altogether. A gentle walk around the block might just be the pick-me-up you need.

Get out of bed

If you find you are tossing and turning, then get up out of bed. Trying to sleep when you cannot will only lead to more frustration and stress. Take a bath, read a book or listen to music until you are ready to attempt sleep again. Keep the lights dimmed as much as possible and avoid all electronic items during this twilight period.

Eat smaller evening meals

Eating a large meal late at night can cause problems with your digestive system. Eat a healthy meal in the early evening and if you must snack, try to avoid foods which may cause indigestion or heartburn. Opt for foods rich in calcium, Vitamin B and zinc.

Balance your fluids

Too much water and you will need to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night. Not enough and you will wake up parched, needing a little drop or two to quench your thirst. A bit of trial and error will be required here to find the right balance.

Avoid exercising late at night

While it can be difficult to fit exercise into your busy routine, do try to avoid exercising at least 3-4 hours before you need to sleep. Exercise can help you fall asleep faster, but it can also stimulate your brain so it becomes more alert. Stick to exercising in the daylight hours where possible.

Try some deep breathing exercises

If you struggle to get to sleep, then it may be worth learning some helpful breathing exercises. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths. Make each breath deeper than the last until you recognize that your body is getting heavy and your mind drowsy.

Quality sleep is more important than we give it credit for. There is nothing better than waking up feeling rested after a good night’s sleep. It will enable you to look forward to the events of the day ahead, giving you just the right amount of energy and motivation you need to get through the day.

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