Like oxygen, food and water, sleep is essential for good health. It refreshes the mind and repairs the body.
But how do you get a good night’s sleep?
It starts with making a commitment to improving your ‘sleep hygiene’. This basically means habits that help you have a good night’s sleep.
Common sleeping problems (such as insomnia) are often caused by bad habits reinforced over years or even decades. You can dramatically improve your sleep quality by making a few minor adjustments to lifestyle and attitude.
1. Obey your body clock
Getting a good sleep means working with your body clock, not against it. Suggestions include:
- Get up at the same time every day. Soon this strict routine will help to ‘set’ your body clock and you’ll find yourself getting sleepy at about the same time every night
- Don’t ignore tiredness. Go to bed when your body tells you it’s ready
- Don’t go to bed if you don’t feel tired. You will only reinforce bad habits such as lying awake
- Get enough early morning sunshine. Exposure to light during early waking hours helps to set your body clock.
2. Improve your sleeping environment
Good sleep is more likely if your bedroom feels restful and comfortable. Suggestions include:
- Invest in a mattress that is neither too hard nor too soft
- Make sure the room is at the right temperature
- Ensure the room is dark enough
- If you can’t control noise (such as barking dogs or loud neighbours), use earplugs
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping and intimacy. If you treat your bed like a second lounge room – for watching television or talking to friends on the phone, for example – your mind will associate your bedroom with activity.
3. Avoid drugs
Common pitfalls of drugs include:
- Cigarettes – accelerated heart rate and increased blood pressure (caused by the nicotine) are likely to keep you awake for longer
- Alcohol – alcohol disturbs the rhythm of sleep patterns so you won’t feel refreshed in the morning, and you may wake frequently to go to the toilet
- Sleeping pills – these can cause daytime sleepiness, and after a period of using them, falling asleep without them tends to be harder. These drugs are generally prescribed under strict conditions.
4. Relax your mind
Insomnia is often caused by worrying. Suggestions include:
- When going to bed, remind yourself that you’ve already done your worrying for the day.
- Try relaxation exercises, like consciously relaxing every part of your body (starting with your toes and working up to your scalp).
In addition to these four areas, there are other lifestyle adjustments that may help improve your sleep. This includes exercising regularly and avoiding caffeinated drinks (like coffee and cola).
Our Pascoe Vale doctors can help you make the right adjustments to get a better night’s sleep. In some cases, we may even refer you to a sleep disorder clinic.
If you’ve tried and failed to improve your sleep, it’s time to talk to us. You deserve a good night’s sleep!
Source: BetterHealth Channel
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.