10 Natural Tips for Better Sleep

  1. Keep it comfortable: This would seem to be common sense, but some sleepers have a bed that’s too hard or too soft. Or they’re stuck with pillows that just don’t feel right to them. It will cost some money to get a new bed and pillows, but it could be worth it if it allows for better sleep. And don’t just look at those beds in the furniture store; kick off your shoes and try them out.
  2. Don’t think about it: Concern about trying to fall asleep can actually keep you awake. Worries tend to do that, especially when you fret over them. Try the old fashioned method and count sheep. Or think of something else, something pleasant (though not food, because that might send you to the kitchen).
  3. Sleep at night: This might be easier said than done, especially if you work nights, but it really can help. The body is conditioned through years and years of biology to sleep when it’s dark outside. Avoid long naps during the day, though a short nap of less than an hour shouldn’t hurt too much. If you have to sleep during the day, keep the blinds closed and try to make your room as dark as possible.
  4. Stay on schedule: Your body adjusts to a natural clock. It knows when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s time to wake. Try to stick to a scheduled sleeping period. Your body will adjust if you have to change the time around a little, but you should try to stick to the same sleeping time even when you’re not working.
  5. Avoid caffeine:This should be an obvious tip. Stay away from caffeinated soft drinks and coffee and some teas in the hours before you plan to go to sleep. Caffeine keeps you awake. Sorry, this includes most chocolates.
  6. Exercise:Working out makes the body tired and gets you in better shape, both which are conditions conducive to better sleep. You don’t have to go crazy and run ten miles a day, but a solid walk for twenty minutes soon before sleep time can help. But don’t exercise too close to your bedtime, because your body will be worked up. Make sure to take some time to let your body cool down and relax.
  7. Clean out the bedroom: Except for the bed, of course. Make your bedroom only for sleeping. Televisions and video games are a distraction that can keep you awake; place those items in another room.
  8. Get the right amount of sleep: Layman’s tradition is that everyone needs about 8 hours of sleep a night. In a way this is true, but it’s not so exact. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep. Some people can operate fine on only six hours of sleep a night. Other people need nine hours. But it’s usually somewhere around the eight-hour mark. And this will change with age and your health. So figure out what feels like the right amount of sleep for you, then try to stick with it.
  9. Watch your food intake: You shouldn’t go to bed hungry, but you also shouldn’t go to bed soon after eating a big meal. Both conditions can keep you awake. And drinking for eating a lot before bedtime is just asking for disaster, because you’re likely to wake up in the middle of the night needing to go to the bathroom.
  10. Sleep alone: This is another one often difficult to accomplish, especially if you have a spouse, kids and pets. But sometimes it’s the presence of others that can keep you awake. Does your spouse snore? Do the kids kick you when they’re sleeping? Maybe the dog growls in its sleep. Any of these things, and more, can keep you awake. If possible, try sleeping alone in a room, maybe a guest bedroom if you have one.

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