Mar 3, 2011

BETTER SLEEP TIPS: The Hot Round-up of the Web Link Suggestions!

Best quote ever: "Put sleep in the background of your life. Don't monitor it, don't evaluate it."

My son and daughter in law spent the week retraining their 1 year old to sleep through the night. They have spent on year nurturing this little person because of health issues at birth. After a year, it became apparent that the baby had played his "no sleep card" one too many times. After a week of training he slept through the night... like a baby! This is the one thing that babies have in common with seniors...both age groups are delicate sleeper.

Now I read that we can retrain ourselves to get a better nights sleep, even as we get older. Yesterday I talked about the Memory Foam Mattress and how the mattress we are sleeping on can be the real culprit. Sleeplessness leads to a sluggish next day and could even make us less affective on the job. All the information I read about sleeplessness mentioned the mattress and it's importance in a good nights sleep. Whether it be the Memory Foam Mattress or another, mattress getting the one that works for you can be the key. Sleep is important!

Beyond the mattress issue, there are other things that can keep us awake at night. It is a given that stress, worry, medications and health problems can interrupt sleep patterns. The trick is to find a way to sleep in spite of those things or to change our lives to eliminate problem issues. There are a few common suggestions from people that study sleep problems and most of them, surprisingly involve what we do before we go to bed.
BETTER SLEEP TIPS...a round up from the web!
  • NAPS Napping for a long time during the day will keep you from sleeping. If you need a nap limit the time. 
  • EXERCISE You are going to need to get up and move. Do what is appropriate for you age...walk, run, swim, work...just get up off the couch, leave the TV or book or handwork and get up and move. You will feel better and you will sleep better. 
  • FORBIDDEN FOOD Do not drink bad stuff before you go to bed. On the list of "forbidden" foods and drink are: alcohol, coffee, tea, colas, heavy meals less than 2 hours before, tobacco, and lots of water. We need to go to bed satisfied but not over watered and fed. If you drink alcohol at bedtime you will actually have a "withdrawal" that will awaken you during the night. 
  • Good FOOD Stick to foods that contain high levels of tryptophan, such as milk, turkey, yogurt, ice cream, soy beans, tuna, and peanuts in the evening. Tryptophan helps the body produce serotonin in order to relax. (wikiHow.com/Better-Sleep) I know that a tablespoon of peanut butter will make me sleepy. 
  • CIRCADIAN RHYTHM If you do not know how much sleep you actually need to feel good the next day FIND OUT NOW! Some of us sleep long hours and other need very little sleep. It is called the circadian rhythm or 24-hour cycle. As we age our sleep patterns change and worrying that you are sleeping more or less than you did when you were 20 does not help. 
  • ROUTINE Once you have done this, establish a routine and make an effort to maintain it. Going to bed and getting up at nearly the same time every day gets your body and mind in the sleep habit. Psychology Today says ordinary insomnia may be cured simply by going to bed one hour later for a few nights, even though you may get drowsy. After that period of time add a little sleep back each night returning slowly to the normal routine. (And for heavens sake don't drive when you are drowsy!) Like that grandson of mine...we may need to retrain ourselves to sleep. 
  • BATTLE EVENING DROWSINESS Get up a move...again. I think that if you eliminate alcohol and eat a reasonably sized meal you find that you are less drowsy. 
  • BEDROOM ENVIRONMENT The bedroom should be a sanctuary. Tune life down at bed time. Lower the lights, turn off the TV, meditate or listen to soft music. Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool...cool, I think is the key here. My experience is that getting a little chilled and then climbing into a warm bed leads to a very good night sleep. 
  • LINE UP YOUR BODY Some people promote the idea that lining up our body is important. For many this is like teaching an old dog new tricks. A sleep position habit could be hard to break. Sleep on you back or side with your head lined up with your spine. Putting a pillow between the knees keeps the hips in line. Putting the pillow under you knees when sleeping on your back, eases back pain. I actually do all of the these things and they do help. I also think that sleeping at least part of the night on my back has improved my posture. Slumping over all day AND all night does not make for a straight back. 
  • THE MATTRESS Every link I visited in my research mentioned the mattress...they say get a good mattress and take good care of it. It is just common sense. 
  • SLEEP AIDS? Only one website mentioned sleep aids. Melatonin, antihistamine and tryptophan pills were all on the list. However, I would like to think that we could do this without a pill. 
  • WHEN TO SEE THE DOCTOR If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, acid reflux or any other disorder that disrupts your sleep, go to the doctor. Many of these disorders are very dangerous and may even cost you your life. 
  • DON'T THINK ABOUT IT Psychology Today suggests that we "put sleep in the background of [our] life. Don't monitor it, don't evaluate it." Could it be possible that we think too much...especially at bedtime. I think so and so do the experts. Quit thinking and don't go searching around in your mind for solutions to problems at bedtime. I have never had a doctor tell me to quit thinking but it just makes good sense. If you know you need to do something in the morning and are worried you will forget WRITE IT DOWN AND FORGET IT. 
Of all the websites I visited, I felt that Psychology Today had the best strategies for curing a bout of insomnia. Hop on over there and read what they had to say. The article was called Your Guide to a Better Nights Sleep.

Sleep well.
b

Resources:

Help Guide How to Sleep Better
Psychology Today Your Guide to Better Sleep
WebMD How to Sleep Better
wikiHow How to Sleep Better
Mayo Clinic 10 Tips for Better Sleep

Related articles
Circadian Rhythm and Blues: The Interface of Depression with Sleep and Dreams (psychologytoday.com)
Say Goodbye to Insomnia (psychologytoday.com)
Best Medical and Non-Medical Insomnia Cures (healthadel.com)
Heeding the Body's Basic Rhythms (psychologytoday.com)

2 comments:

  1. So far I don't have any problem sleeping but I enjoyed the points because some of them I never thought about before. I always thought a nightcap was a sleep enhancer. Shucks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ralph,

    Don't you hate it when someone rains on your parade?

    b

    ReplyDelete

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