Life can be a bit hectic for us all. With kids and phone calls, social events and visitors and travel, it’s no wonder there is not as much time left for sleeping. We dip into sleep reserves to do other things. We stay up later to finish projects, clean the kitchen, or catch up on emails. The restful, restorative sleep that our body requires gets sacrificed all too quickly.
Or maybe you have plenty of time to sleep, but you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. If you have trouble with waking frequently during the night, there are many reasons this occurs and lots of ways to help make your sleep longer and sweeter.
It’s obvious that we need to do the things we already know about, like avoiding caffeine-containing beverages after about 12 noon, and avoiding napping. If those kinds of changes have not worked for you, then try some of these helpful tricks to falling asleep.
Hints for Restful Sleep
Avoid alcohol (wine, beer and hard liquor) within 3 hours of bedtime. Scientific research that shows it can cause you to wake periodically through the night, as it causes blood sugar fluctuations.
Avoid Sudafed or other decongestant cold medicines at night.
Complete any aerobic exercise before 6 pm (or at least 3 hours before bedtime). This allows your body to process through metabolite and allows for more restful sleep.
Consider taking magnesium before bedtime.
Try a warm bath with Epsom Salts added, as this contains magnesium sulfate which can be absorbed through the skin.
Consider 1-3 mg of melatonin 2 hours before bedtime, if you frequently go to sleep too late. Check with you doctor before you start this, as melatonin can interact with certain medications.
Avoid spicy foods before bed.
Bedding and Pillows
Consider using a “side sleeper” pillow for under your neck when sleeping on your side, or try a body pillow to hug and put between your knees to align your back and shoulders at night.
Roll backwards at a slight angle onto a body pillow if you have hip bursitis.
Consider replacing your pillows with hypoallergenic pillows. Use Ultrafine allergy pillow and mattress covers.
Avoid sleeping on a water bed or an electric mattress.
Make sure your sleeping area is the correct temperature range (not too hot or too cold).
Sleep Planning and Bedroom Preparation
Making your environment a sweet place to sleep can do a lot for your rest and relaxation. Planning ahead and making a full night’s rest a higher priority can help. Plan your sleep by putting it into your schedule; plan for 7 to 9 hours in bed, allowing for appropriate falling-asleep time. As much as possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This will help train your biological clock.
Light, Noise, Temperature, and Environmental Issues
Turn down the light in the bathroom and in rooms you are in 15 minutes before going to bed.
Use dark window shades or consider a set of eye shades if you awaken too early because of light.
Avoid sleeping near electric fields. Try to have your head at least 5 feet away from electric fields, if possible. Possible sources of electrical fields include: electrical outlets, clock radios, stereos, computers and monitors. Consider moving these devices or moving your bed or your position in the bed.
Bedroom Air Quality
Keep your bedroom air clean, especially if you have nasal congestion or are prone to snoring. If your nose is blocked up, consider using a saline spray before bed. Also consider Breathe-Easy strips on your nose.
Try using HEPA or other types of air purifiers or filters to clean the air in your bedroom. Set the filter on a low setting at night if the noise is soothing. Consider cleaning the vents in your house once a year and make sure you change your furnace filters every 3 months. Avoid toxic glues or other items producing an odor before bed. If you see mold or have a musty smell in your bedroom, have it checked or cultured for mold with culture plates. If there is mold, have the house evaluated for water leaks and air quality issues to be fixed and see that the mold is cleaned appropriately.
Nighttime Tension and Anxiety
Avoid reading or watching the news, or reading stimulating, exciting materials before going to bed.
Avoid paying bills or checking your financial reports or the stock market before bedtime.
Avoid arguments before bedtime.
Schedule difficult conversations well before bedtime—preferably at least 3 hours before.
To learn more, please call our office at 239-288-2789.