Tips For Sweet Dreams
If you want to get all the sleep you deserve and do it right, here are some ideas.
Get Into The Groove
Maintaining a regular schedule for going to sleep and waking up in the morning will strengthen your “internal clock” and help with falling asleep faster at night. Even on weekends and days when you don’t have a morning schedule, waking up at the same time every day is important for regulating your internal clock. Also, establishing a regular bed-time routine, such as leisurely reading, taking a bath, meditating, drinking a cup of milk or herbal tea, or other low-key activities will signal your brain that it is now time to sleep and will make it easier to fall asleep. Avoid activities that cause excitement, stress or anxiety before bed, such as working, playing competitive games, and solving family and financial problems. My bedtime routine involves getting comfortable on the couch at home with a good book and a cup of herbal tea. I’m gone before I know it!
Create A Good Sleep Environment
The environment you sleep in should be designed to give you as much comfort as possible. Your room should be cool, dry, dark, quiet and free of interruptions to get the best sleep possible. Keep all distractions to a minimum: Turn off your phone, put blackout curtains on your windows, and if needed wear earplugs or an eye mask. To ensure you stay asleep all night long, choose a mattress and pillow that you like and feel comfortable sleeping on, and that will support you properly. You may need to replace your mattress if it no longer gives you the needed support, as the life expectancy of a mattress generally is about eight years.
Your Bed Is For Sleeping
Your bed should be associated with sleep, so take anything other than sleep out of your bedroom. This includes your work, computer, television and telephone. Reading in bed is fine as long as you are reading books and magazines, not profit-and-loss statements! I find reading to be quite sleep-inducing and calming. And because I’ve been reading in bed before sleep since I was a little kid, my brain associates reading with sleep.
Skip The Snooze
If you can’t fall asleep at your regular bedtime, or it takes you an hour or more to fall asleep, try eliminating naps during the day. Even if you feel very tired after lunch or in late afternoon, involve yourself in an activity that will stimulate your brain and keep you up. Skipping the nap will ensure fast sound sleep at night.
Watch What You Eat And Drink Before Bed
Finish eating about two to three hours before your regular bedtime. Eating too much before sleep can make you feel uncomfortable when settling down for bed. Watch what you eat at dinner, because spicy foods may cause heartburn leading to difficulty falling asleep and discomfort during the night. Also, food and drinks containing caffeine such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and some soft drinks are stimulants, which produce an alerting effect on the body. Avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime to ensure proper sleep. Avoid alcoholic beverages as well. Although alcohol is considered by some people as a sleep aide, it actually disrupts sleep during the night. You may end up tossing and turning rather than being in any semblance of a restful state.
Get Moving During The Day
If you are having trouble falling asleep at night it may be because you are not getting enough exercise and movement during the day. Exercising regularly promotes sound sleep. But exercising too close to bedtime makes you more alert and raises your body temperature, causing difficulties falling asleep. Don’t exercise at least three hours before going to bed. The best time for exercising is late afternoon.
Tossing and turning in bed, worrying that you may be forgetting something or what you have to do the next day, can keep you up for hours. Take some time in the evening to go over your schedule for the week and write down everything you need to do. Once that’s written down it can be put out of your mind and you can sleep well.
If your inability to fall or stay asleep is associated with high levels of stress, you may consider stress therapy. If the sleep problem persists for a long period of time and is disruptive to your life, you may need to consult with a medical professional. But you can also try meditation to de-stress and get a good night’s rest. Read Ways to Relieve Stress to find out how to deal with stress effectively and how meditation can help.
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