22 Tips For Better Sleep

22 Tips For Better Sleep

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Who doesn’t want a better sleep?  Whether you truly struggle with falling or staying asleep, or just want a half hour more of quality sleep, here are 22 ways to get it:
 

Minimize or Avoid Stimulants 

 
1.  Avoid alcohol (wine, beer and hard liquor) within 3 hours of bedtime. 
2.  Avoid caffeine-containing beverages or foods after 2 pm; if sensitive to caffeine, avoid it after 12 (noon). These items include Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew; tea, coffee, lattes, and chocolate; coffee- or espresso-containing ice creams or desserts. Read the labels of everything you eat and drink! 
3.  Avoid Sudafed or other decongestant cold medicines at night. 
4.  Some medications may have stimulating effects. Consult your pharmacist and doctor to determine whether any of them might be contributing to sleep problems. Do not discontinue them without permission from your doctor. 
5.  Complete any aerobic exercise before 6 pm (or at least 3 hours before bed- time). 

Nighttime Tension and Anxiety 

 
6. Avoid anxiety-provoking activities close to bedtime: 
7. Avoid reading or watching the news before going to bed. 
8. Schedule difficult conversations well before bedtime—preferably at least 3 hours before.  Avoid arguments right before bed.
 

Sleep Planning and Bedroom Preparation 

 
9.  Plan your sleep by putting it into your schedule; plan for 8.5 to 9 hours in bed. 
10.  As much as possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This will help train your biological clock. 
11.  Avoid getting in bed after midnight as late-hour sleep is not as helpful as earlier sleep. 
12 . Avoid large meals or spicy foods before bed. 
13.  Finish all eating 3 hours prior to going to sleep. 
14. Avoid drinking more than 4-8 ounces of fluid before going to bed. 
 

Strategies to Use with Trouble Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep 

 
15. Consider reading a good neutral book under low light to help with falling asleep. 
16. Don’t stay in bed more than 20-30 minutes trying to fall asleep. Leave your bedroom and go to a relaxing room other than the bedroom and read or do a relaxation technique (i.e., meditation.) 
17. If you awaken early because of light, put a dark covering over your eyes. 
18. If you awaken early because of recurrent thoughts, try writing them in a journal. If this does not help, consider counseling. Depression might be a factor. 
 

Bedroom Air Quality 

 
19. Keep your bedroom air clean, especially if you have nasal congestion or are prone to snoring. Use HEPA or other types of air purifiers/ filters to clean the air in your bedroom. Use the filter on a low setting at night if the noise is soothing. Otherwise use the filter on a medium setting for 4-6 hours during the day. 
20. If you see mold or have a musty smell in your bedroom, have it checked or cultured for mold with culture plates. If there is mold, have the house evaluated for water leaks and air quality issues to be fixed and see that the mold is cleaned appropriately. 
21. If your nose is blocked up and you have trouble breathing through it, take the above steps and consider using a saline spray before bed. Also consider Breathe-Easy strips on your nose. Make sure you read the instructions and t them over the lower third of your nose.
22. Consider replacing your pillows with hypoallergenic pillows. Use Ultra allergy pillow and mattress covers. 
 
 
Keep these tips in mind for you and your family. Consistent restful sleep is part of the foundation of good health.
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