How to Drift Off Towards a Natural and Healthy Sleep Lifestyle Part Two

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Lifestyle Tips:

  1. Another reason to try to stop smoking is giving up cigarettes means gaining hours of sleep. Nicotine can cause sleep problems because it’s a stimulant. Nicotine withdrawal is an additional issue to deal with because this can cause you to wake up before you are ready. There is also some evidence that there is a link between cigarettes and an increased number of nightmares, which in turn can further harm a person’s quality of sleep.
  2. Make it a point to use your bed for just one reason: sleeping. Don’t watch television, read, write, listen to music, daydream, talk, or do anything from your bed other than sleep. You want your mind and body to associate a bed with sleep and nothing else. You may even want to take it a step further by spending as little time possible in the bedroom. This will strengthen and intensify the association.
  3. Hot baths are usually high on the list of things to try for people that would like to fall asleep quickly. The reason a hot bath may help is because after you get out of the tub, your body undergoes a temperature shift. The hot bath warmed your body up, but now that you’re out of the water, your body temperature will drop. Your body might register this as a signal that it’s time for sleep because your body temperature also drops after about four hours of sleep, so your body associates temperature drops with sleeping. Now the hot bath could also help in terms of relaxation, another key factor in falling asleep quickly and easily.
  4. Don’t watch television or read anything that requires moderate or deep thought right before you go to bed. Both activities stimulate the brain and thus will impact how quickly you are able to fall asleep. In addition, something that you watch or read could impact you and stay with you, such as a disturbing news report or program, and thus serve as an obstacle to the sleep process. Keep in mind that graphic and disturbing material could spawn nightmares, resulting in a not so good night’s sleep.
  5. Don’t invite your dog or cat to sleep on the bed. This can result in unnecessary awakenings at night due to their movements. You also might find it restrictive because some of the space is taken up by your pet and you have less room to get comfortable.

Bedroom Tips:

  1. Ensure that the bed you are sleeping on is large and comfortable! Pretty obvious I’m sure, but also pretty difficult to fix if it isn’t because of the price of mattresses. If you are able to afford a new mattress and feel that you do need one, keep in mind that the different types of mattresses, like foam, fabric, inner springs, air, water, and so on, offer different levels of firmness and responsiveness and can affect your body temperature and create pressure points, so be sure to take your time and experiment on a wide variety of mattresses. There are also products like foam toppers that can be purchased in the store that can be put on top of the mattress but below the sheets that can make your bed a more comfortable one. Then there are the pillows. There are different types of pillows such as synthetic, cotton, feather, as well as varying degrees of softness and firmness. It’s possible a different kind of pillow will provide you with more comfort and support, so learn about them and experiment. Sheets, comforters, and blankets can also disrupt sleep, so make sure they aren’t made out of irritating material. You should be comfortable with every aspect of your bed. If you’re not, you should identify and address the problem or the problems and then see if the quality of your sleep improves.
  2. Another comfort factor that needs to be taken into consideration is room temperature. A bedroom that is warm and stuffy will only make your efforts to fall asleep and stay asleep more difficult. Ensure that the room is comfortably cool when you are ready to go to sleep and that the room temperature will remain comfortable throughout the night.
  3. Be aware that you have a biological clock. This clock reacts differently depending on whether your body is being exposed to light or not. Sunlight and regular indoor lighting is interpreted by your clock as an active signal. When there is very little or no light, that sends a different signal to your clock. Your body is essentially being told to prepare to slow down and rest. Ensure that your bedroom is as dark as possible at night and that during the day you are exposed to a significant amount of light. This will help your body’s rhythms remain in a natural and undisturbed state.
  4. Avoid watching television in bed or falling asleep with the television on. Although watching television does make some people sleepy, for others it stimulates the brain and that is an impediment when trying to fall asleep. Having the television on in the background while you are sleeping can interfere with a good night’s sleep because of the volume, and the light that comes from the television can negatively impact your biological clock. Then there’s always the chance that you could find yourself interested in a movie or program and lose track of the time!
  5. For some people, having what is known as “white noise” in the background can help to cancel out any other sounds in the room or outside. White noise machines can emit soothing sounds like wind, waterfalls, rain, and ocean waves. For some, the sound of a fan constitutes as a calming sound that blocks out any other noise and is comforting to the ears. Music can also work for some people, but it shouldn’t be too loud or jarring.

Nighttime Tips:

  1. Don’t look at the clock if you are having trouble falling asleep. That will only invite more trouble because looking at the clock can bring about stress, frustration, and aggravation. Try changing positions in bed and taking a few deep breaths. Keep your mind blank, eyes closed, and body relaxed. If you are still having difficulty falling asleep, then get up, but don’t turn the lights on as that will only complicate your efforts. In the dark, do something uninteresting like reorganize your clothes closet or if you have a fan on, watch it go around and around.
  2. It’s not uncommon to wake up during the night. Most of the time you’ll just fall back asleep within minutes, but if that doesn’t happen, don’t become frustrated. It’s important to stay relaxed and not let the gears in your head start turning. Try switching positions and deep breathing. Don’t do anything that involves turning a light on, and that includes the television, because this is likely to only intensify the problem. Only get up if you feel you’ve had enough sleep. Be aware though that getting up earlier than you’re used to could result in sleepiness later in the day and it will have a slight impact on your biological clock.
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