Sound sleep eludes many people who are otherwise healthy. Yet poor quality sleep can ultimately cause physical and emotional problems, as well as strain both personal and professional interactions. Adverts are overrun with promises to aid sleep, offering a range of products from pills to pillows to sleepytime teas. However there are plenty of free and low-cost ways to get those much needed Z’s.
Discover Personal Sleeping Habits
The first order of business is to keep a sleep journal. Each night’s quality of sleep should be reviewed and detailed. It is also important to keep notes of food and beverage intake, including what and when. If there’s a habit of falling asleep but waking up in the night, note the time and reason for waking. Those arising to use the restroom in the middle of the night could increase opportunities for sound sleep simply by limiting late-night beverages. Also make a note of things that work to help encourage sleep as well as everything that has hampered progress in the past. Tech lovers, using their mobile phone can even install a smartphone app that will help monitor sleeping cycles. There are quite a few to choose from, many of which are free.
A-type personalities are particularly prone to sleep problems. Many state “trouble shutting down” or “wheels keep turning” as a primary cause of disrupted slumber. People who are excessively driven will need to make a concentrated effort to slow down at least one hour prior to bedtime. That means shutting off the telly, turning off the phone, putting work aside, and skipping any heart-racing reads. Consider taking a bath to help relieve stress and try using a calming scent. Lavender is especially beneficial, but only if one likes the scent. If prone to doing late-night workouts make them a morning activity, instead.
In addition to changing how to prepare for sleep it is important to review and possibly revise surroundings. Some prefer music or the television going, whilst others need a quiet space. Preferred temperature and light levels also vary greatly among people. Different sleep styles can be particularly challenging for couples. For instance, a light sleeper may be consistently sleep-deprived whilst sharing a bed next to one who snores. The snoring partner will also lose sleep when the light sleeper tries to get their partner to turn over, causing frustration for both. Look at all factors of the bedroom and make the necessary changes to help get quality sleep. If that means taking the telly out then do so. Note to couples: try to find compromises that can work decently enough for both of you. However if you and your partner simply cannot find a working arrangement then sleep in separate rooms.
Everyone knows about limiting caffeine intake. However, each body is unique, with specific foods that could hamper sleep. Some culprits that affect many include red wine and spicy cuisine. Be careful with sweets and high-carb goodies late at night, too, because such things can have quite an impact on one’s blood-sugar levels. Conversely there could be specific foods that help you fall asleep and get to that much-needed REM stage. The best way to find out what works and what hurts is to faithfully maintain a sleep and food diary. When done, patterns can easily be seen and rectified, if needed.
Look at Life
Stress is not just a silent killer—it’s also a key reason patients complain of poor sleep. Look at key factors that are causing angst and then find ways to neutralize them. If the issues are stresses that cannot be avoided then find healthy ways to cope. Regular exercise can help, as can stress-relieving practices such as yoga and meditation. Workers stuck in offices on a regular basis should also make it a point to get outside whenever time allows. Even brief walks or moments taken in a quiet, tranquil setting can help hit the reset button. When a number of stress-relieving techniques are adopted you should see a marked improvement in sleep as well. Deep slumber is a vital component to physical and emotional health. Find out what’s working for and against you and then make the necessary changes so that your body is allowed to recharge on a nightly basis.