Do you find it hard for yourself to get to sleep and stay asleep? It may be time to make some changes in your bedtime habits- and get some more exercise! Follow these excellent tips to help prevent insomnia and get a great night’s sleep.
1. Create a “wind down ritual” that you stick to. Make your routine conducive to sleeping. Here are some ideas to help yourself relax and let go of your day:
• Wind down by having a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile.
• Take a warm bath, light some candles.
• Listen to some relaxing music or read a book.
• Limit your time in front of a computer or TV screen before bed.
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2. Make your bedroom a comfortable, inviting place. Learn to associate your bed with sleeping.
Make sure your mattress is comfortable, and get your pillow in the right spot. Make sure your room is the right temperature. Don’t watch TV or work in bed. Put that phone away!
3. Establish a regular sleep schedule – and try not to nap!
Try to get up at the same time every morning- even on weekends. Your body will learn to set its internal clock to your schedule. Also, try not to nap, no matter how tempting it may be! It can throw off your regular sleep schedule and worsen your insomnia.
4. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake before bed.
Both caffeine and alcohol can seriously disrupt your sleep schedule. Studies show that caffeine intake as far as 6 hours before bed can still have a significant impact on sleep disturbance. Alcohol may seem to help you sleep, but in fact it can disrupt your sleep in the second half of the night and cause drowsiness and poor concentration the next day.
5. EXERCISE MORE!
Regular physical activity has been shown to help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep, and lower anxiety levels that can contribute to insomnia. A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 83 percent of people reported sleeping better when they exercise – even if they exercise late at night. Is the late evening the only time you have to work out? Don’t worry! If you are afraid that your late workout will cause or worsen your insomnia- don’t skip your workout! Remember, you can take these steps to cool down and calm yourself after your workout:
• End your evening workouts with a few yoga poses. Try Happy Baby or Corpse Pose. These poses help you focus on your breathing and help you wind down.
• Get yourself comfortable! Take a warm bath or shower. Your core temperature dips naturally before bedtime, helping your body prepare for sleep mode. When you get out of a hot shower, your body temperature will fall, triggering drowsiness.
• Have a small snack. Don’t eat too much, or you’ll feel too full to fall asleep. Don’t eat too little, or you’ll be too hungry to fall asleep. Grab a light snack with carbs and protein, like low-fat cheese and crackers, a glass of chocolate milk, hummus, or whole-grain toast with peanut butter.
• Stay well hydrated when you’re working out. This will keep your cortisol levels lower and you’ll feel more calm.
Keep these tips in mind next time you’re having trouble getting enough sleep- you’ll be waking up refreshed and energized in no time!