How to Get Better Sleep

Try these tips to achieve a sweeter slumber.
By Jaime Netzer
November/December 2007

Rise and shine! Keeping a regular bedtime and getting up around the same time each morning can help you get better sleep.
ISTOCKPHOTO/JUSTIN HORROCKS


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Zzzz. A good night’s rest can be more precious than gold to an overworked, over-stressed body. Experts recommend fitting in a full seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and getting better sleep can improve work performance, memory and even relationships.

But it’s not always easy to get to bed on time, or to relax once you’re there. If you’re feeling sleep-deprived, there are plenty of natural options to help soothe you into a restful slumber. The following suggestions can help you make the most of your slumber.

Before Bedtime

  • Make sure your bedroom is a sleep haven — keep the temperature down, the lights low, and avoid doing anything but sleeping, snuggling or other bedroom activities between the sheets. This means no TV, late-night Web surfing, or, worst of all, work.

  • Lavender has been proven effective at inducing calm and relaxation. Get a lavender eye pillow or use a few drops of the essential oil to soothe your senses.

  • Establish a bedtime routine. Taking a hot bath can exaggerate the natural temperature dip your body experiences as it transitions from wakefulness to sleep, bringing sleep on faster. You can make bathing at night and reading something pleasant before bed a daily practice.

  • Avoid (or eliminate) caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, especially close to bedtime. Alcohol and nicotine may seem to induce shut-eye, but both cause disrupted snoozing later on in the night. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, keeping you awake long after you’d like.

Lying in Bed Unable to Sleep? Try the Following:

  • Practice deep breathing. Focus on moving your belly up and down, not your chest. Inhale for a count of four, and exhale for a count of eight.

  • Slowly tense and then relax every muscle group in your body. Start with your toes, move to your feet, then your ankles, then your calves — chances are, by the time you reach your head, you’ll already be dreaming.

  • Throw a T-shirt over the alarm clock. Clock-watching won’t make you fall asleep any faster, and in fact usually exacerbates worries and stress. Try your best not to focus on the sleep you might be losing.

  • After 20 minutes of trying, if you still can’t sleep, get up! Take advantage of your wakefulness to do something productive but still calming. Then, after you start to feel drowsy, lie down and try again.


Do you have any tried and true get-to-sleep tips? Share them in the comments field below. Sweet Dreams!







Post a comment below.

 

sleepyhead
6/26/2008 3:11:00 PM
hey, if you're having trouble getting good sleep, try this site: http://www.getbettersleeptonight.com its a great guide on how to get good sleep, NATURALLY. it works great!

james norman_2
11/29/2007 12:00:00 AM
I learned that deep sleep equals REM (rapid eye movement). So I tried moving my eyes from side to side. This made me think of rocking in a hammock. So try moving your eyes (closed) in gentle arcs like in a hammock. This often works for me.

S Matusky
11/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
Ok, not everyone can do this. If you have a laptop with solitare, free-cell, etc...(it depends on what game is most visually entrancing for you), use the laptop for the soul purpose of letting the cards put you to sleep. Spider Solitare works best for me. After a few moves my lids are almost shut. Give it a whirl. It works for me.

WILLIAM Hathaway
11/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
I was taught to count to 8 as I breath in and count to 8 as I breath out..works for me..

Oyvind Erland
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
In Norway many have got radios as alarm-clocks. I once witnessed measuring of radiation from electronic equipment in a home, and these alarm-clock-radios were the worst. So get rid of it, at least don't sleep beside it!

Pierre Brunet_1
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
My profound deep sleeping turn out to be very simple with proof.First, make sure there is the less possible electric appliance in the room. calm, very light music is needed, lay down on your back, take 10 deep breath,and let it go.Have your eyes close, and let your thought go with your angel that protec you. Make sure to have make peace with every body before sleeping at night. In the morning when you wake up, say thanks for the Good night rest.Amicalement, Pierre

Andrew Connellan
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
egads! Faux News gives me nightmares! Otherwise, sans the sodium y the propaganda, yours is sound advice NYarlott.

Gerrye Williams
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
I concentrate on the word sleep and open my eyes for a split second every few seconds - never takes long!

Doug Riggle
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
Someone told me once about visualization and explained how to do it. It was explained (best I can remember) as kind of an out of body experience. I was told to 'imagine' myself doing something that I enjoyed and had more than just a few steps to complete. Well, when I was in the Navy I played golf nearly every day for almost 3 years and got to know the course pretty well. Some days I would walk the course, others I would use a cart. I visualized myself walking the course and playing an "honest" round, no fudging!! It took me a while to get the hang of it because my mind would get off track and I would be digging myself out of a mud pit while four wheeling. I know, where did that come from? Anyway after several times of trial and error, I was finally able to play several holes, I think the most I've visualized has been 7, and that's a lot, walking. So, visualizing a round of golf has worked for me and I have mixed it up by starting on the front 9 and then another time starting on the back. For anyone who decides to give this a try, just remember it may not work the first time and you may need a mulligan (a do over) to get going...good luck and I truly hope this helps someone.

James L. McConaughy
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
* Throw a t-shirt over the alarm clock. Clock-watching won't make you fall asleep any faster, and in fact usually exacerbates worries and stress. Try your best not to focus on the sleep you might be losing. * After 20 minutes of trying, if you still can't sleep, get up! Take advantage of your wakefulness to do something productive but still calming. Then, after you start to feel drowsy, lie down and try again. How do you know when your twenty minutes are up if you cannot see the clock? We have just been told not to watch the clock and not to focus on the lose of sleep. Now we are told to do both!

Nick Brown
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
In the early 1970's I house sat for a wonderful older couple. Allie and Albie. Albie mixed me my first martini and Allie shared her thoughts on falling asleep. She said to visualize yourself peacefully floating really high up in clouds and then let yourself gently fall through the clouds with the knowledge that the clouds were endless. It has always worked for me. The filling my mind with only images of soft puffy gray clouds and the act of staying in this self projected gray environment is enough discipline to block the worries and tension of the day and allows me to slip away.

Nancy Yarlott
11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
This works every time for me, When I wake around 3am... I lay there for only a few minutes I do not try all the silly things, just get up, put a cup of water in the micro, get out my pkg of instant chicken soup, and sit down with what ever Fox News has on at that hour, I enjoy the soup, I enjoy the 1/2 hour I spend listenting to the Tv somtimes I even look forward to this break in the nite time, I go back to bed,without ever turning on a light (important).. and fall immediately asleep, never missing that 1/2 hour sleep... relax, learn to enjoy, it works.. I call that soup my naughty soup as it is not very good for you, full of salt and who knows what, but I love it.








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