We have a cat. His name is Rusty. Rusty like most cats sleep 19 hours a day. We need to get our sleep as well, but we don’t need to sleep 19 hours a day. A regular routine of 6-9 hours will do. Listen to your body, if you are tired you probably need more sleep. Of course if you are physically or mentally ill then seek medical advice.
Inconsistent sleep can have some serious consequences. Not only does it affect our physical health, but lack of sleep can also contribute to overall anxiety and stress. And sometimes it turns into a vicious cycle since anxiety often leads to disruptions in sleep. Especially when feeling anxious.
If you are having trouble sleeping try these solutions.
1. Turn off your technology at least an hour before bedtime. If you have a tablet and like to read then make sure the light is darkened. The light from a tablet can generate blue light, which in turn stimulates the brain and keeps you awake. What blue light does is slows down or halts the production of melatonin, the hormone that signals our brain that it is time for bed. Working on your computer has the same effect. Shut down your computer work an hour before bed does wonders to your sleep pattern. This simple habit turns off the active mind and get’s it ready for sleep.
Finally don’t take your smartphone to bed with you so that you can catch every email or Facebook post before you go to sleep. What happens is just the opposite of going to sleep. They are stimulants to keep you awake.
2. Plan your next day after your evening meal or before you leave work. This simple trick reduces work-related anxiety. In essence you are emptying your mind of tasks that you understand to be important and that you have to do the next day.
Jotting down tasks and giving them a priority alleviates ‘mind traffic’ – that mind activity that keeps churning things over and over again in your mind. Basically, your mind is trying to tell you, you can’t forget this or that or another thing. Writing those tasks down in a safe place where you know you can get at them first thing in the morning reduces your stress.
3. Raise your bed ever so slightly and you will sleep better. If you have acid reflux than raising it 2-3 inches reduces acid from rising to your throat. It is also found that a slightly raise bed helps with back pain, reduces mouth breathing, curbs snoring, alleviates heart congestion, soothes head stuffiness and helps lessen shortness of breath. Raising your bed can be easy, for instance you can put a 2-3 inch block on the front legs of your bed. It is recommended that you lip the block so that the leg fits within the block, this contains the wheels from rolling off the block. Alternatively find them on Amazon opposit.
4. Keep your bedroom organized. Personal organization of your bedroom improves sleep. Organizing your bedroom means your bed is made and your personal stuff is in its place. It also means refreshing your pillowcases and sheets weekly, (some will say daily, but most of us don’t have a maid to do for us). In other words when it’s time for bed you have a bed ready for your sleep.
5. Freshen your room with scents. The scent should be to your liking, something natural to you. A centuries old trick is putting a drop of lavender oil on a pillow. Lavender oil is known to encourage sleep.
6. Exercise. Exercise not only helps you to keep fit physically and mentally, it also improves your sleep. Exercise physically tires you out and your body wants to recover and sleep is an excellent way to doing just that. It is also known that exercise relieves stress, which is often associated with sleep difficulties.
Indirectly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can decrease the risk of weight gain which guards against sleep apnea. This is particularly true if a person is obese – studies have shown that 60% of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have been credited to obesity.
7. Stick to a sleep schedule. Depending on what advice sleep experts give, the average sleep for adults is usually between six and eight hours. Most will recommend at least seven hours.
The key to sleep scheduling is to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Now we know we like to sleep in on the weekends but the best solution is to keep that sleep in to no more than an hour. The reason for keeping to a schedule is all about consistency. Consistent timing reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Sometimes we have difficulty falling asleep. If you find that you are lying there for 20 minutes or more then do something relaxing. Flick on the light and read for a while, but not on your smartphone or tablet, turn on calming music. When listening to calming music on your tablet set it to turn off in about twenty minutes this way you will safe the life of your battery and you will not be bothered about whether you need to turn it off. Which in itself may keep you awake.
8. Watch what you eat and drink. Make sure when you go to bed that you are not hungry or stuffed. Avoid heavy meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. This may keep you awake, especially if you are prone to reflux.
Studies are finding that caffeine blocks adenosine, a natural sleep-inducing agent. Caffeine stays in your systems between four and seven hours. It can be disruptive by waking you up often throughout the night.
Another disrupter is alcohol. Although it can tend to make you sleepy it can also disturb your sleep later in the night and may also cause vivid dreams and even nightmares.
As always, stay safe, keep well and become the best version of yourself.
Thank you for reading,
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