6 Tips For Getting Better Sleep
6 TIPS FOR GETTING BETTER SLEEP
So many of the health problems that people are living with could literally be healed overnight if people were simply getting enough sleep. (It's amazing what just one 12 hour night of deep sleep can do!)
It is while you are sleeping that your body repairs and rejuvenates it's self, but because going to sleep is the last thing that we do each day it tends to be the thing that we neglect and put off the most.
If it is getting late but you are out and having a good time with friends or you are home but you see that a movie you have been wanting to watch is about to come on you might feel tempted to stay awake and be thinking to yourself, "It just means that I'll get a couple less hours of sleep tonight, that's all."
You need to "wake up" to how important sleep really is and below are 6 tips for getting better sleep.....
6 TIPS FOR GETTING BETTER SLEEP
1. DON'T WAKE UP WITH AN ALARM CLOCK
If you wake up to an alarm clock you will wake up before you are fully rested and ready to wake up on your own, which means that you will start the day feeling tired, stressed, and wishing that you could just stay in bed...
This is the worst way to start the day and it is the way that most people do. (And people who wake up this way will continue to feel tired throughout the day and will need frequent doses of caffeine or other stimulants just to function.)
Waking up before your body is fully rested will result in many problems including poor memory, difficulty concentrating, and slower reflexes, which is why I believe that driving when you are sleep deprived can be just as dangerous as driving when you are drunk!
Statistics seem to prove this by showing that on "Daylight Saving Time" when everyone has to set their clocks forward 1 hour and they lose an hour of sleep traffic accidents increase, and when everyone sets their clocks back 1 hour and they get to sleep-in an extra hour traffic accidents decrease.
If you make sleep a priority and you get into the habit of going to sleep at the same time every night you shouldn't need an alarm clock because we all have an "internal clock" inside of us that will be almost as reliable as an alarm clock once you get into a regular sleeping pattern.
And if you are too nervous to sleep without an alarm clock because you're afraid of being late for work and getting fired, just know that with a regular sleeping pattern you can condition yourself to wake up every morning before your alarm is actually set to go off. That way you can still have an alarm clock "just in case", but it will be very rare that you actually get woken up by it.
The very name "Alarm Clock" should tell you that it's insane to use one!
You are the most vulnerable while you are sleeping and getting woken up while you are in the middle of a deep sleep by any kind of an alarm (regardless of whether it's a "Fire Alarm", a "Burglar Alarm", or the alarm from an "Alarm Clock") can jolt and startle you, and it can cause you to start the day feeling really tense and irritable.
And to give you an idea of how annoying and unnatural it is to wake up to an alarm clock, the man who invented the alarm clock ("Levi Hutchins") created the first alarm clock back in 1787, but the only problem was that it could only wake you up at 4:00 AM and he hadn't figured out yet how to be able to set it to wake you up at other times, and shortly after inventing his alarm clock that would go off every morning at 4:00 AM he was murdered one morning by his wife...
At 4:05 AM!
2. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A ROOM WHERE GOOD SLEEP IS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE
The environment that you sleep in will have a major impact on how well you sleep at night, and below are some tips for making your bedroom a lot more "Sleep Friendly"...
Bedroom Tip #1 - "Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Dark"
Our bodies were designed to naturally start to feel sleepy as the sun goes down and everything starts to get dark, and to wake back up when the sun rises and lights everything back up again.
Darkness triggers the release of melatonin (which is a hormone that helps us fall asleep) and light suppresses the release of melatonin and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
Our skin is sensitive enough to light that even small amounts of light can interfere with our circadian rhythm and confuse the body into thinking that the sun is coming up and that it's time to wake up, so I recommend that you start dimming the lights in your house in the evening and make your bedroom as dark as possible when you are sleeping.
(Ideally make your bedroom so dark that if you hold your hand in front of your face you won't be able to see it.)
If you have to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water I would urge you not to turn the lights on unless you absolutely have to, and to consider having a really dim flash light that you can turn on if you need some light at night, because bright lights will be a lot more stimulating and will make it more difficult for you to fall back asleep.
Bedroom Tip # 2 - "Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Quiet"
Even if you claim to be a "Deep Sleeper" and you say that noises such as police sirens and neighbors yelling doesn't wake you up at night, keep in mind that you will still be hearing them subconsciously while you are sleeping, which can result in nightmares and psychological stress to the body that will hinder your ability to get a good and healing night sleep.
If you live in the city and you can't sleep in silence your next best option would be to sleep with a fan on "HIGH" which will cover up a lot of the noises, and that will produce a rythmic "white noise" that can actually help you fall asleep.
Bedroom Tip # 3 - "Make Sure That Your Bedroom Temperature Is "Just Right"
Studies show that the best temperature for sleep is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Centigrade.
- If your bedroom is too hot it will cause you to wake up off and on throughout the night, which will result in less sleep and less healing.
- If your bedroom is too cold your body will have to use energy to warm it's self up which will take away energy that could go towards healing.
Bedroom Tip # 4 - "Make Sure That Your Bedroom Air Is Clean"
It would be best to sleep with your window open at night so that you can breathe fresh air at night, but if you can't leave your window open at night due to noise, weather, pollution, street lights, animals, or crime then the next best thing would be to invest in a good air purifier.
(If you read the reviews of any good quality air purifier you will notice right away that a lot of the people are claiming that their sleep improved a lot once they started using it.)
Bedroom Tip # 5 - "Make Sure That Your Bed Is Right For Sleep"
If you spend 1/3 of your life in bed make sure that your bed is comfortable, but be aware that too much cushioning and poor sleeping posture can cause your spine to be crooked for 1/3 of your life. (Which can result in big problems during the other 2/3's of your life as well!)
So ideally have a mattress that is kind of soft but also solid enough that your back will remain fairly straight, and try to sleep on your back.
Also try not to eat or watch TV in your bed because the less that your body associates getting in bed with going to sleep the more difficult it can be to fall asleep, because our bodies develop conditioned responses based on our habits. So if for example you are used to eating in bed you may frequently have the experience of wanting to go to sleep but as soon as you lay down you suddenly have a strong desire to eat something.
Bedroom Tip # 6 - "Make Sure That Your Bedroom Is Free Of Electronics"
Ideally don't have a phone, a TV, or a computer in your bedroom because of how tempting it can be to turn one of them on if you are having difficulty falling asleep, and because of how much more difficult it can be to fall asleep right after spending hours staring into a glowing screen.
Avoid electronics for at least an hour before bed and spend that hour doing a "bed time ritual" that will help you to wind down and feel more ready for sleep such as reading, writing, or mediating.
3. BECOME UNREACHABLE WHEN YOU GO TO SLEEP
For some people it would be virtually impossible (even at night) to go 8 hours in a row without someone trying to call them, and for people like this just turning off their phone before they go to bed would improve their sleep dramatically.
I encourage you to always turn your phone off before you go to sleep and to ask everyone you know not to call you or to show up at your at night unless it is a serious emergency.
It may sound selfish, but getting a good night sleep requires you to be unconscious, and few things will take a toll on your health faster than sleep deprivation!
4. DON'T SLEEP WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS SLEEPING PROBLEMS
If you sleep in the same bed as someone who wakes up several times in the night it can be contagious and cause you to wake up several times a night as well.
If you sleep in the same bed with someone who does any of the following 10 things, you need to work on getting them help for their problem...
- Sleeping with someone who snores.
- Sleeping with someone who tosses and turns all night.
- Sleeping with someone who frequently gets up to use the bathroom at night.
- Sleeping with someone who sleepwalks.
- Sleeping with someone who has intense nightmares.
- Sleeping with someone who gets phone calls in the middle of the night.
- Sleeping with someone who wakes up with an alarm clock.
- Sleeping with someone who insists on having the TV on while sleeping.
- Sleeping with someone who wants the room to be too cool or too hot for you.
- Sleeping with someone who smokes and smells like cigarettes.
By the way, if you and the person who you share a bed with are thinking about having a child, it is estimated that a new baby will result in over 500 hours of lost sleep for each parent during the first year alone!
5. AVOID STIMULANTS
This should be common sense, but I've met people who drink 12 cans of Pepsi a day and wonder why they have trouble falling asleep!
Caffeine is something that people take to help them stay awake and the problem is that it works so well that it can cause you to have trouble falling asleep at night. (Which means that you will wake up feeling tired again the next morning and will need to drink more caffeine in order to stay awake, and this cycle will continue until you break the addiction to caffeine and start getting more sleep.)
If you don't get enough sleep drinking a cup of coffee will help you feel more awake, but so would seeing a big lion running towards you! You see, we all have stored energy reserves that are intended for emergency situations, and what caffeine and other stimulants do is tap into these reserves and allow them to be used for non-emergency purposes, and doing this repeatedly taxes the body and can result in premature ageing and even premature death.
One of the best ways to improve your sleep and eliminate your need for caffeine is to take control over your work schedule...
If you have a job where you have to work random hours (Like working 9:00AM - 5:00PM one day and then working 3:00PM - 11:00PM the next day) I strongly recommend that you either find another job or that you change your "availability" at work so that you can only be scheduled to work during a certain 8 hour window of time each day so that you can have a regular sleep cycle.
And if you have a job working late at night I would strongly urge you to quit because it has been proven that working late at night is seriously detrimental for your health and the extra dollar or so an hour that companies have to pay employees to work the night shift isn't worth the toll that it is having on your health!
I have met lots of people with unhealthy work schedules and they tend to drink so many "energy drinks" that it is literally their main source of calories for the day! And I actually have an Aunt who used to work 12 hours a day at a hospital but instead of working for 12 hours and then having 12 hours off they actually had her work for 4 hours then have 4 hours off 3 times a day, and sometimes she would have to work 3 seperate 4 hour shifts for several days in a row which meant that she would never have more than 4 hours off at one time and could therefore never sleep for more than a few hours at a time.
Please respect yourself enough to say "No" to unhealthy work shifts that make it impossible for you to have a normal sleep cycle and that can wreck your health in the long run!
6. FALL ASLEEP HAPPY
Millions of people watch the late night news right before going to bed each night, and if you are one of them please understand that there are people who were in "World War 1" and who still to this day are having intense flashbacks and nightmares about it. So don't think that watching news reports about war that is taking place in the world and crime that is taking place in your own neighborhood right before you go to bed at night won't have a negative effect on your ability to get a good and restful sleep that night.
Make it a point to avoid any kind of negative stimulation shortly before you go to sleep because stress raises your cortisol levels which makes it a lot more difficult to relax and fall asleep.
When you lay down to go to sleep I encourage you to spend the 10 minutes or so that it takes you to fall asleep giving thanks for all of the good things that you can remember experiencing that day, and when you wake up in the morning give thanks for everything that you are looking forward to that day.
How you start your day is extremely important and if you go to sleep happy and you also get a good night sleep, then how could you not wake up feeling happy as well???