Tips On How To Overcome Sleep Problems

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Tips On How To Overcome Sleep Problems

It’s about that time – bedtime. You’re looking forward to a restful sleep. But after 20 minutes, you are still awake. You have been tossing and turning. Your mind continues to focus on what happened the previous day and on what will happen tomorrow. You can’t seem to get rid of these thoughts. It’s happening again – another sleepless night!

This is a very common problem for many people. The American Sleep Association reports that 35.3% of Americans sleep less than seven hours a night. Research suggests that we get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. A lack of adequate sleep can have seriously negative effects upon your health. Inadequate sleep lowers the efficiency of your immune system and increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Your energy level, cognition, memory, judgment and concentration may also be affected in a negative way.

Listed below are several suggestions to help you get started on your way to improved sleep.

The first step is to make sure the conditions in the bedroom are suitable for a good night sleep. Make sure your room is as dark as possible and the temperature is slightly cool. The environment should be as quiet as possible.  If traffic sounds or other noise pose a problem, try listening to white noise – water fall, ocean waves, and so on. Research has proven that white noise can help blot out unwanted noise and improve sleep.  You can download white noise sounds from Amazon Music, or from other places on the internet. Also, make sure your bed is comfortable by using the right mattress and pillows.

At this point, you are ready to go to bed, right? No, not really. There are a few things that you need to do first in order to promote sleepiness and a better night’s sleep.

  1. Do some gentle stretches for the upper and lower body in order to reduce or eliminate any tension or soreness in your muscles.
  2. Immediately, take a hot bath or shower. Personally, I prefer the bath. It relaxes the deeper body muscles as well as those near the top.
  3. Drink a hot cup of decaffeinated tea right before you get in the bed.
  4. The last step, and probably the most important, is to meditate or quiet your mind so that you CAN fall asleep. A very common type of meditation that I do is called deep breathing – sometimes referred to as ‘soft belly’ breathing.

Lying on your back in a comfortable position, close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Allow your belly to be soft as you breathe, expanding on the in breath, and relaxing on the out breath. Say to yourself “in” as you breath in, and “out” as you breath out. Let thoughts come, and immediately let them go. Bring your mind back to “in…out.” Do this deep breathing for five to ten minutes, or longer, if you prefer. When you think that your mind is quiet enough to fall asleep, stop at that point and get some much needed Z’s.

Some other tips that will help you fall asleep are as follows:

  • Keep all electronics out of the bedroom. This includes TV, smartphones and tablets
  • Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day.
  • Don’t do an intense workout routine just before bedtime. Your metabolism will be revved up so high, you won’t be able to fall asleep.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal right before bedtime. Also, don’t drink caffeine and alcohol beverages as well.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep after five to 10 minutes, get out of bed and sit quietly in another room (don’t turn on electronics). You can also do some chores. Then try meditating again. Your thoughts will gradually loosen their hold on you. Your mind will clear, and you will fall asleep.

One of the most important things to remember is that it takes time to develop good sleep rituals. Making small incremental changes to your sleep habits can reap big dividends in the long run. However, if you continue to have sleep problems, you should contact your doctor, and ask him to order a sleep study for you. You might have – as I found out that I had – sleep Apnea, or some other problem that requires medical treatment. Good luck, good night, and sleep well.

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