Getting enough quality sleep is one of the best weapons in the stress-relief arsenal. There are numerous strategies for ensuring that you sleep like a log each night, and this article discusses a number of them.
First and foremost, regular exercise is conducive to good sleep, among many other health benefits. A thirty-minute walk or jog, a swim, a bike ride, or some other form of aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up is one of the best ways available for ensuring that you get to sleep easily and stay asleep. It is important to bear in mind, however, that exercising around your bedtime is counterproductive, since this provides an energy burst that will serve to keep you awake.
Caffeine and sugar are big no-nos when it comes to sleep. These are chemical stimulants that will act on your nervous system and leave you staring wide-eyed at the ceiling for hours on end. Nicotine is another stimulant, so smoking a cigarette before bed should also be avoided. You may have heard that alcohol is
a depressant, and you may therefore think that alcohol before sleep is harmless at worst or quite helpful at best, but you would be wrong. Although alcohol may indeed make you drift off to sleep faster, you are bound to suffer from a night of sleep characterized by twisting, turning, sweating, toilet breaks, and
overall poor sleep. Eating a heavy meal within a couple of hours before bed will make it hard to enjoy quality rest. On the other hand, going to bed on an empty stomach may cause you to experience hunger pains throughout the night. Your childhood glass of warm milk with light snack is a timeless sleeping
If you like the occasional afternoon nap, be aware that, depending on your body, this may make it difficult for you to fall asleep at your proper time. Consider substituting a brisk walk for a nap.
Take control of your sensory stimuli. For hearing, if there is too much ambient noise in your area, consider purchasing a set of soundproof headphones. For sight, if too much light is making it hard to sleep or waking you too early in the morning, consider purchasing an eye mask, the type people wear on
airplanes. For feeling, ensure your room maintains a comfortable temperature, neither too hot nor too cold. And leave the door or window open so that you are getting adequate ventilation.
Discover ways to slow your body and mind down in preparation for sleep. Ensure that you have taken care of all the nagging problems of the day that you can. Perhaps listen to some classical or New Age music. Read a book that does not require too much mental strain. Have a warm bath with essential oils. Do some yoga or Pilates. Meditate. Imagine peaceful scenes. Do what works for you.
Do not spend your time looking at the clock, counting the hours, and causing yourself additional anxiety and stress. Each time you look at the clock may add half an hour to the time it takes you to fall asleep.
Invest in a good mattress and pillow. There are too many considerations in this regard to discuss here, so your best bet is to seek advice from a knowledgeable friend or relative or discuss your options with a salesperson you can trust.
As a last resort, many insomniacs resort to sleeping pills. Nothing is stopping you from this approach if you feel you need it, but before you start taking sleeping pills, see whether a natural herbal remedy such as Valerian offers relief.
Finally, keep in mind that the old guideline about eight hours of sleep every night is only that, a guideline. You yourself can tell the difference between five hours of deep sleep and eight hours of light sleep. Listen to your body and you will not go wrong.