Ten Tips to Achieve Better Health Through Improved Sleep
Posted on July 10, 2009 by Renee Shupe
There are few things as important to good health as much as a good night’s sleep.
There are few things as important to good health as much as a good night’s sleep. It refreshes the mind and the body, and is an integral part of ensuring that your body has the energy to do what it needs to do. However, did you know that you quality of your sleep matters almost as much as the quantity?
Your brain and your body recharge for the next day during sleep. There are many behaviors you can incorporate into your daily routine to ensure you are getting the best sleep possible.
Ten Pointers for Optimizing Your Sleep:
1.STOP EATING LATE When you eat, your body turns up the volume on its energy as you try to digest the food. If you eat right before bed, then it’s impossible for your body to slow down and enter sleep mode.
2. GET EXERCISE. Exercise tires the body and burns energy, which enables you to fall asleep quicker and get more REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
3. SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. Melatonin, the chemical produced when you are in the sun, regulates your internal clock. Try and spend a couple hours or so in the sun per day to make sure your body is on the right schedule.
4. GO TO SLEEP AT A REGULAR TIME. Be sure to try and get to bed at around the same time, night after night. If you do, the body will begin shutting down at that time, helping you fall asleep.
5. SLEEP IN THE DARK. Light that enters your eyes could trick your brain into thinking that the sun is rising, so sleep in a room that is completely devoid of light to prevent interruptions.
6. DO NOT WATCH TELEVISION. Television programs are geared towards entertaining and exciting people, not putting them to sleep. Watching TV while trying to sleep may keep you distracted, preventing relaxation. Research suggests that even keeping a television set in the room may trigger associations with being excited, so it may affect your sleep patterns even if it’s not on.
7. HAVE SOMETHING Have Something To Read On Hand. Often, you cannot sleep because your mind is so focused on the day’s events. Reading before sleep can help the brain slow down and forget distracting thoughts, and allows it to relax.
8. DON’T MISUSE YOUR BED. Often times, people use their beds for things other than sleep, such as watching TV, talking on the phone, etc. This association with other activity can distract the mind when you are actually trying to sleep. Try to only use your mattress for sleeping.
9. NO NAPPING. Naps tend to fool your brain into thinking that you are not tired when bedtime comes around. If you find it necessary to nap, limit these naps to under a half hour. Sleeping in the day can also confuse your mind as to what time of day it is, and disorient your schedule altogether!
10. KEEP A DIARY. The brain tends to re-live our days right before we go to sleep, which is very distracting and can keep you awake. Having your mind clear by putting those thoughts to paper is extremely useful. Have a Notebook Ready. If you are forced out of sleep by an errant thought, simply record the thought in the notebook and don’t think about it until you wake.
All you need to do to dramatically improve the way you sleep (and increase the energy you have!) is to follow these steps for 14 days. You will love the feeling, and no longer dread the ring of the alarm clock!