6 Tips for Getting Better Sleep
6 TIPS FOR GETTING BETTER SLEEP
A lot of the health problems that people are living with could literally be healed overnight if people were simply getting enough sleep.
It is while you are sleeping that your body repairs and rejuvenates itself, but because going to sleep is the last thing that we do each day, it tends to be the thing that we neglect and put off the most.
If it is getting late but you are out and having a good time with your friends, or if you are home and you notice that a movie that you've been wanting to watch is about to come on, you might feel tempted to stay awake and tell yourself, "It just means that I'll get a couple less hours of sleep tonight, that's all."
You need to "wake up" to how important sleep really is and below are 6 tips for getting better sleep...
6 TIPS FOR GETTING BETTER SLEEP
1. DON'T WAKE UP WITH AN ALARM CLOCK
If you wake up to an alarm clock, you will wake up before you are fully rested and ready to wake up naturally on your own, which means that you will start the day feeling tired, stressed, and wishing that you could just stay in bed.
This is the worst way to start a new day, and it is the way that most people do.
Waking up before your body is fully rested can result in many problems including poor memory, difficulty concentrating, and slower reflexes. (Which is why I believe that driving when you are sleep deprived can be just as dangerous as driving when you are drunk, and statistics seem to prove this by showing that on "Daylight Saving Time" when everyone has to set their clocks forward 1 hour and they lose an hour of sleep traffic accidents increase!)
If you are too nervous to sleep without an alarm clock, because you're afraid of being late for work, just know that with a regular sleep schedule you can condition yourself to wake up before your alarm goes off, and therefore you can still have an alarm "just in case", but almost never need it.
The very name "Alarm Clock" should tell you that it's insane to use one!
You are the most vulnerable while you are sleeping, and getting woken up while you are in the middle of a deep sleep by any kind of an alarm (regardless of whether it's a "fire alarm", a "burglar alarm", or even an "alarm clock") can jolt and startle you, and result in a "rude awakening" that will cause you to start the day feeling tense and irritable.
And to give you an idea of how unnatural and annoying it is to wake up to an alarm clock, the man who invented the alarm clock ("Levi Hutchins") created the first alarm clock back in 1787. But the only problem was that it would only go off at 4:00 AM, and he hadn't figured out yet how to be able to set it to wake you up at other times, and shortly after inventing his alarm clock that would go off every morning at 4:00 AM he was murdered one morning by his wife...
At 4:05 AM!
2. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A ROOM WHERE GOOD SLEEP IS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE
The environment that you sleep in will of course have a major impact on how well you can sleep at night, and below are some tips for making your bedroom a lot more "sleep friendly"...
Bedroom Tip #1 - "Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Dark"
Our bodies were designed to naturally start to feel sleepy when the sun goes down and everything starts to get dark, and to wake back up once the sun rises and lights everything back up again.
Darkness triggers the release of melatonin (which is a hormone that helps us fall asleep) and light suppresses the release of melatonin (which makes it more difficult for us to fall asleep) so it would be best to sleep in the dark.
Our skin is sensitive enough to light that even small amounts of unnatural light can interfere with our circadian rhythm and confuse the body into thinking that the sun is still up, so I recommend that you start dimming the lights in your house in the evening and that you do your best to prevent any artificial lights from getting into the room you are sleeping in.
Ideally make your bedroom so dark that if you hold your hand in front of your face you won't be able to see it.
Bedroom Tip # 2 - "Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Quiet"
Even if you claim to be a "deep sleeper" and you say that noises such as police sirens and neighbors yelling doesn't wake you up at night, you will still be hearing them subconsciously while you are sleeping, and this can result in nightmares and psychological stress which will hinder your ability to get a good and healing night sleep.
If you live in the city and you can't sleep in silence, your next best option would be to sleep with a fan turned on "HIGH" which will cover up a lot of the noises and will also produce a rhythmic "white noise" that can actually help you fall asleep.
Bedroom Tip # 3 - "Make Sure That Your Bedroom Temperature Is "Just Right"
Studies show that the best temperature for sleep is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Centigrade.
- If your bedroom is too hot it can cause you to wake up off and on throughout the night, which will result in less sleep and less healing.
- If your bedroom is too cold your body will have to use energy to try to warm itself up, which will take away energy that could go towards healing.
Bedroom Tip # 4 - "Make Sure That Your Bedroom Air Is Clean"
It would be best to sleep with your window open at night so that you can breathe fresh air at night, but if you can't leave your window open at night due to noise, weather, pollution, streetlights, animals, or crime then the next best thing would be to invest in a good "air purifier".
If you read the reviews of an "air purifier" that has really outstanding reviews, you will notice that a lot of the reviewers are claiming that their sleep improved once they started using it.
Bedroom Tip # 5 - "Make Sure That Your Bed Is Right for Sleep"
If you spend 1/3 of your life in bed, make sure that your bed is comfortable, but be aware that too much cushioning and poor sleeping posture can cause your spine to be crooked for 1/3 of your life. (Which can result in big problems during the other 2/3's of your life as well.)
Ideally have a mattress that is kind of soft but also solid enough that your back will remain fairly straight, and try to sleep on your back.
Also, try to use your bed for sleep only, so that your body will associate getting in bed with going to sleep, and so you won't suffer sleep deprivation due to conditioned responses. (For example, if you develop the habit of eating in bed, you may frequently have the experience of wanting to go to sleep but as soon as you lay down you suddenly have a strong desire to eat something, because your body has been conditioned to associate being in bed with eating.)
Bedroom Tip # 6 - "Make Sure That Your Bedroom Is Free of Electronics"
Ideally don't have a phone, a TV, or a computer in your bedroom because of how tempting it can be to turn one of them on if you are having difficulty falling asleep, and because of how much more difficult it can be to fall asleep right after you've been staring into a glowing screen. (Especially if the color blue is on the screen, because blue lights have been shown to supress the release of melatonin which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.)
Try to avoid electronics for at least an hour before bed, and ideally spend that hour doing a "bedtime ritual" that will help you to wind down and feel more ready for sleep such as reading, writing, or mediating.
3. BECOME UNREACHABLE WHEN YOU GO TO SLEEP
For some people, it would be virtually impossible (even at night) to go 8 hours in a row without someone trying to talk to them, and just turning their phone off before they go to bed at night would improve a lot of people's sleep dramatically.
I encourage you to always turn your phone off before you go to sleep, and to ask everyone you know not to call you or show up at your house at night unless it is a serious emergency.
It may sound "selfish" to some, but keep in mind that getting a good night sleep requires you to be unconscious, and few things will take a toll on your health faster than sleep deprivation will!
4. DON'T SLEEP WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS SLEEPING PROBLEMS
If you sleep in the same bed as someone who wakes up several times in the night, it can be contagious and result in you waking up several times a night as well.
If you sleep in the same bed with someone who does any of the following 10 things, you need to work on getting them help for their problem...
- Sleeping with someone who snores.
- Sleeping with someone who tosses and turns all night.
- Sleeping with someone who frequently gets up to use the bathroom at night.
- Sleeping with someone who has intense nightmares or sleepwalks.
- Sleeping with someone who gets phone calls in the middle of the night.
- Sleeping with someone who wakes up with an alarm clock.
- Sleeping with someone who insists on having the TV on while sleeping.
- Sleeping with someone who wants the room to be too cool or too hot for you.
- Sleeping with someone who smokes and smells like cigarettes.
By the way, if you and the person you share a bed with are thinking about having a child, it is estimated that a new baby will result in over 500 hours of lost sleep during the first year alone!
5. AVOID CAFFEINE AND OTHER STIMULANTS
This should be common sense, but I've met people who drink 12 cans of Pepsi a day and wonder why they have trouble falling asleep.
Caffeine is something that people take to help them feel more awake during the day, and the problem is that it works so well that it can also cause you to feel awake at night and have trouble falling asleep. (Which means that you will wake up feeling tired again the next morning, and that you will need to drink more caffeine to feel more awake, and this cycle will continue until you break the addiction to caffeine naturally by getting enough sleep.)
If you don't get enough sleep, drinking a cup of coffee will help you feel more awake, but so would seeing a big lion running towards you! You see, we all have stored energy reserves that are intended for emergency situations, and what caffeine and other stimulants do is tap into these reserves and allow them to be used for non-emergency purposes, and doing this repeatedly taxes the body and can result in premature ageing and even premature death.
One of the best ways to improve your sleep and to eliminate the need for stimulants is to take control over your work schedule...
If you have a job where you have to work random hours (like 5:00AM - 1:00PM one day and then 4:00PM - 12:00AM the next day) I strongly recommend that you either find another job, or that you change your "availability" at work so that you can only be scheduled to work during a certain window of time each day so that you can sleep at the same time every night.
And if you have a job where you work at night, I would strongly urge you to quit, because it has been proven that working late at night can be seriously detrimental for your health, and the extra dollar or so an hour that companies are required to pay their employees to work "the grave shift" isn't worth the toll that it is going to have on your health over the years.
I have met lots of people with unhealthy work schedules, and they tend to drink so many "energy drinks" and other caffeinated drinks that they are literally their main source of calories for the day!
And I actually have an aunt who used to work 12 hours a day at a hospital, but instead of working for 12 hours in a row and then having 12 hours off, they actually had her work 3 separate 4 hour shifts per day, and between each of these shifts she would have a 4-hour break, and sometimes she would have to do this for several days in a row. (Which meant that she would have to go several days at a time without ever having more than 4 hours off at a time to get sleep.)
Please respect yourself enough to say "No" to unhealthy work shifts that make it impossible for you to sleep well, and that cause you to become a "slave" to caffeine.
6. FALL ASLEEP HAPPY
Millions of people will watch the late-night news right before going to bed each night, and if you are one of them, please understand that there are people who were in "World War 1" and who still to this day are having intense flashbacks and nightmares about it. So don't think that watching news reports about crime that is taking place in your local area right before you go to bed at night can't have a negative effect on your ability to get a good and restful sleep that night.
Make it a point to avoid any kind of negative stimulation shortly before you go to sleep, because stress raises your cortisol levels which makes it a lot more difficult to relax and fall asleep.
When you lay down to go to sleep, I would encourage you to spend the 10 minutes or so that it takes you to fall asleep giving thanks to the universe or to "God" for all of the good things that you accomplished or experienced that day, and when you wake up in the morning spend 10 minutes or so giving thanks for everything that you are grateful for and looking forward to that day.
How you start your day is extremely important, and if you go to sleep happy and you get a really good night sleep, then how could you not wake up feeling happy as well???