Tips to a Restful Night Sleep: Part 2 (What NOT to do)
In line with the previous post, lets look over some of the techniques and implements you should do to help get a better and deeper sleep. This post covers various approaches to conquering insomnia, so there should be something for everyone to try.
The human body does well on a routine, if you develop one before you go to bed your body will quickly get the idea of “Ah, this means bed, time to get sleepy.” Make sure that this routine happens roughly the same time nearly every night and is something you find enjoyable.
As mentioned earlier, the body needs time to get into sleep mode. To give your body the best chance of sleep, make sure you slow down and progressively relax as the night goes on. This could be reading, writing, spending time with family/friends, or meditation. You could even incorporate your relaxation into your bedtime routine, a nice hot shower or bath before bed followed by a face mask is heavenly after a long day. If you find yourself still laying awake 20 minutes after doing your routine, keep it up until you feel tired.
Focus on Your Body:
Paying attention to your body and its functions as you lie in bed may help you to notice things on a deeper level. Checking in on your body and feeling where you are in the moment as you slowly breathe allows you to decompress from the stress of the outside world. Noticing how your hands and legs are resting against the bed allows a positive state of welcoming the rest and allowing yourself to just exist as you are can help you drift off into slumber.
Facilitate a Positive Sleep Environment:
The more comfortable the surroundings, the easier it will be to fall asleep. Some of the things you can try are to dim the lights or sleep in total darkness, think about sounds or have something relaxing playing in the room, make sure your bed is comfortable, or try keeping the room at a slightly cooler temperature will help the body naturally become sleepy. We produce a lot of heat when we sleep, so in an effort to conserve energy our bodies will get sleepy faster if its cold.
Be Energetic and Social in the Day:
Studies have shown that people who were social and saw the faces of people went to bed in a better mood than those that did not. As social creatures, our energy gets used up when we enter social situations, so being depleted of it at the end may help achieve a deeper state of sleep. In addition, going to bed in a good mood from social exposure facilitates a more restful sleep.
Have a light snack:
We are not trying to go to bed starving or stuffed. If possible we get a happy medium of a satisfied stomach followed by peaceful sleep not only because they fill you up, but because the nutrients and vitamins contained in these snacks can aid in producing hormones and chemicals that naturally help you get to sleep such as tryptophan, magnesium, calcium, and melatonin. Some great snack foods include: Walnuts, Almonds, small amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, small amounts of foods with a high glycemic index (such as pretzels, white rice, cereal, and corn chips), tart cherry juice (or any natural red juice such as cranberry, pomegranate, etc.), fruits (especially kiwi and bananas), and herbal tea (chamomile in particular).
If all else fails, ask a doctor!