Maintaining Good Sleep Hygiene
Tips for Getting to Sleep the Natural Way
by Julian Lane
Few factors are as consequential to one’s health as restful sleep. Medical evidence has shown that people who fail to take sleep seriously are risking a litany of physical and psychological problems with long-term repercussions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and memory loss. So, paying careful attention to one’s sleep hygiene is sound medical advice.
If you rely on tranquilizers, be aware that overuse can cause addiction, with dangerous side effects leading to slurred speech, headaches, and even aggression. Here are a few tips to get you thinking about what constitutes healthful sleep and what you need to do to make it happen consistently and naturally, without the aid of prescriptive medication.
Caffeine and Other Stimulants
Stimulants like coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate are likely to disrupt your sleep at night and make it difficult to get a sound seven to nine hours of shut-eye. Avoiding these and other substances, including tobacco and alcohol, within four hours before bedtime.
A Relaxing Sleep Space
There are several important environmental factors that are necessary for restful sleep. You may be accustomed to sleeping with the TV on, but it’s not a practice that will help you fall asleep. TV, computer, and tablet screens give off a blue light that disrupts your circadian clock and tricks your brain into thinking that it’s time to get up. The optimal sleep environment should be completely dark, with no external light from street lamps or car headlights leaking through.
It’s also important to maintain a quiet bedroom, so turn off that radio before you go to bed. If the neighbor’s barking dog or passing cars are a problem, try using a white noise app or turn a floor fan on low to create a steady, relaxing sound. Also, don’t forget to keep the room temperature below 75 degrees so your body temperature doesn’t climb too high.
Good respiration at night is also important, especially if you suffer from sleep apnea or have a snoring problem. If you’re breathing dry air, you’re probably not getting a restful night’s sleep, so invest in a humidifier and keep a supply of filters nearby. It’ll help minimize the amount of particulate matter in your sleep space.
The colors in one’s bedroom have an effect on sleep. Shades of blue, green, and yellow were found to be the most conducive to sleep, so consider repainting your bedroom for a better night’s sleep. Clutter has been associated with stress and unrest at home, so take the time to declutter the entire house. That way, you can be assured yours is clean and orderly living space.
Sleep When You’re Tired
There’s nothing quite as uncomfortable as trying to fall asleep when you’re wide awake and tossing and turning. Rather than fighting it and forcing yourself to fall asleep (usually a losing battle), get up and do something soothing until your eyes start to get heavy. Go into another room, turn the lights down, and do a little light reading or try meditating. Meditation calms your mind and body, and it’s a healthier alternative to prescription medications.
Spend an hour or two before bed doing something you find relaxing. A hot bath will raise your body temperature, which goes back down once you get out of the tub, thereby making it easier to get to sleep. Avoid thinking about problems in your life (this is where meditation can help). Above all, you want to be relieved of stressful, cortisol-inducing thought patterns.
Maintaining a consistent bedtime routine will help you establish a reliable means of getting to sleep. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time every morning. Stick to it, even on weekends and vacations, to prevent falling back into an unhealthy pattern.
Getting sufficient restorative sleep is essential to your mind and body. Fortunately, you can train your body to get to sleep at night without the aid of tranquilizers, the abuse of which can cause anxiety, paranoia, and memory loss. Getting to sleep the natural way is better for you in the long run, so emphasize sleep habits that aid your body’s natural rhythms.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Julian Lane believes that creating his home is his expression of art. In high school, Julian started using any materials he could find to update his bedroom. He began with making a desk, a desk chair, a bookcase, and then a headboard. His parents took notice and soon had him improving the house piece by piece.
Julian’s thrill for every project is to make the job look like a professional did it. Between trial and error and searching the Internet for the best tips, he became obsessed with little touches that set projects apart from the DIY masses. TheFixItChamp.com is Julian’s way of sharing quality DIY resources along with safety and a touch of design.