Start A Sleep Diary
While you may be a busy person and the thought of starting a journal might not be that incredibly appealing, a few quick notes about your sleeping patterns can give you a valuable insight into what is the culprit causing you not to get the rest you need to feel fresh and confident during the day. What you eat and drink during the day can influence sleep patterns so be sure to record how much alcohol and caffeine you have consumed throughout the day as well as the times you consumed them. Medications and emotional issues can have a big impact on how restful your sleep is. The amount of exercise you get on a regular basis is an important factor in your sleep. Getting at least 20 minutes of exercise per day can do wonders for your sleep and help you get into better physical condition.
Change Sleep Position
If you are tossing and turning a lot during the night or wake up feeling sore, then it may be in your best interest to change the position in which you sleep. Pillow manufactures have designed pillows that are made specifically to help you rest in various positions with the support you need. Although a side sleeper pillow may cost more than a nonspecific pillow, it can be well worth it if you experience a more peaceful night of rest. It is best to settle on a position that allows you to breathe without any restraint. Side sleeping works well for a lot of people while stomach sleepers are more prone to tossing at night. Your spouse or partner can help by reminding you gently that you should sleep a different way. It can sometimes be challenging for your partner to adjust to a different position, but if you find that you toss and turn less, then they may experience a better night of sleep as well.
There are many benefits to a good physical fitness routine. Working out regularly or doing a physical activity that you enjoy can improve your cardiovascular health, mental outlook, and ensure that you sleep well at night. In some studies, it has been proven that adults that got at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week slept longer and felt that they were better able to face the challenges of the work day. If you have a hard time exercising alone, then team up with your spouse or a good friend. Having someone else encouraging you to exercise increases the chances that you will continue to exercise in the future. You don’t always have to do the same type of exercise. However, some people do better if they get their exercise the same time every day. One day each week you may jog in the park while another may be dedicated to a fun cardo class at the local community center.
A Dedicated Bed
It is very easy to turn your bed into a place where you do far more than sleep. Unfortunately, activities other than sleeping can lead to loss of sleep and reduced quality. If you are used to reading, eating, or surfing the internet while in your bed then now is the time to stop. The occasional movie in bed is not going to rock your whole sleep schedule, but if you find yourself doing this often, it will have an impact. The simple fact is that when a bed is just for sleeping, then it is easier to get into “sleep mode”. A lot of outside stimuli can make it almost impossible for your mind to become calm and relaxed enough for the deep sleep that is necessary for alertness and your physical well-being . The brightness from electronics can interrupt the Circadian Rhythms that allow you to get the highest quality of sleep and should be avoided. This is one reason some people choose paper books before bed rather than using a tablet computer. It is easy to go without your tablet for a few nights and see if your sleep improves.
Stick To A Sleep Routine
While there are times in life when a real sleep schedule is a fantasy, if you can get into a good schedule it can make for a very good quality of sleep for the long term future. Just because it is the weekend doesn’t mean you should change the times that you sleep. Your body gets into a routine that makes it know that it is time to wind down and get some shut eye for a refreshed next day. Those that work late shifts might find it difficult to be on such a schedule. If your job schedule is having a severe effect on your sleep and your work quality is suffering, it may be time to evaluate how your job is affecting your overall health. Sometimes getting on a different work schedule doesn’t mean you have to leave your job. If you live in a house with many people, some of which have different schedules, it can be challenging to stick to a schedule. Noise reduction measures such as heavy curtains or some relaxing music can be helpful to some people.
Your caffeine intake is an important sleep factor. If you have coffee or tea in the morning, then it will have time to be metabolized before it is time for sleep. Those that indulge in caffeine after noon and throughout the day are more prone to sleep disruptions because they are simply overstimulated. Switching from coffee to green tea is sometimes helpful for those that want to reduce but not totally eliminate caffeine during the day. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages also encourage more frequent urination so you might need to get up more times throughout the night. A lot of people have trouble going back to sleep if they have to wake up more than a few times throughout the night. When evaluating your caffeine consumption be sure that you are including everything that you normally consume throughout the day. Caffeine can be found in many different drinks and foods in varying amounts that can add up to a caffeine overload for you.
Not only does quitting smoking or chewing tobacco significantly reduce your risk of cancer and other health issues, but is also encourages better sleep. The active compounds in tobacco can interrupt the REM patterns that are required for a deep and restful sleep. Tobacco can increase breathing problems that can result in disturbed sleeping patterns or even a condition called Sleep Apnea. Those suffering from sleep apnea lack the ability to breathe normally and can require supplemental oxygen at night to get a good level of sleep. Quitting tobacco can be difficult, especially if you have been a user for a long time. Your doctor can help you formulate a plan that is most likely to work for you. Local health departments and nonprofit organizations often offer support and products on a sliding scale basis, so those wishing to have a good support network as well as gum, patches, and other resources to reduce cravings and increase the chances that you quit and don’t ever go back to tobacco again.
While too much alcohol is detrimental to your health, drinking 1-2 drinks per day can help you sleep and reduce stress. Doctors stress the importance of making sure drinking doesn’t cross the line into way too much of a good thing. Red wine, in particular, has important heart and cardiovascular benefits as well. Some wines contain compounds that can decrease the risk of cancer and diabetes. Make sure that any medications you are taking don’t have alcohol warnings. If there is any doubt about medication and alcohol, make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on what a healthy level of alcohol consumption is for someone of your physical constitution. Drinking 3 hours or more before bed is best if you are concerned about the quality of your sleep.
Buy A Quality Mattress
How many people reading this are sleeping on a mattress older than seven years or one that shows a lot of wear? A good quality mattress can make all the difference when it comes to sleep quality and comfort. Many people that have discovered the difference a quality mattress can make will say that even an expensive mattress is well worth the investment. If your spouse or sleeping partner has a different preference as to mattress firmness than you might consider a bed whose firmness can be adjusted on each side. Some couples put two twin beds with different mattresses together to make a custom sleeping arrangement that helps ensure quality sleep. Many high-end mattresses offer good guarantees so that you can return a mattress that you are not satisfied with. Reading reviews or going to a showroom can help you make an informed mattress purchasing decision that you will not regret. Even if your mattress is only five years old, if it is not right for you then you need to consider a replacement. Just because a mattress has a 20-year warranty doesn’t mean it will last that long under your sleeping conditions. Over time, even the best mattress will lose some support.
Reduce Outside Noise
Any outside noise or stimulus can have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. If too much light is a problem during the times you have to sleep or if moonlight bothers you then dark and heavy curtains or blinds can help create an atmosphere more conducive to a good night of sleep. If you have roommates that like to listen to music or watch television during your sleeping times, then you might ask that they use headphones. In drastic cases, you may want to invest in earplugs or similar to block out noise. Discouraging others from calling you at odd hours is a good thing to do if it becomes a problem. Unless you have to have your phone on at all times, you might, at least, consider setting it to vibrate, so you don’t get sales calls at odd times. Soothing sounds and music allow some people to sleep by blocking out outside noises and distractions.
Right before bed can be a prime time to have too much on your mind to be able to get relaxed enough to fall peacefully asleep. Some sleepers find that falling asleep takes a long time if they are stressed and feeling emotional. A transition period between activity and falling asleep is helpful and not as hard as you might think to get started. Meditation or breathing exercises can help you wind down at the end of the day. Relaxation techniques can be as unique as the individual that needs to use them. If writing in a journal before bed helps you then you should do it. It may take you some time to discover what type of relaxation techniques work the best for you. If you are experiencing such a high level of stress that insomnia is becoming a common occurrence, you may want to consult with your physician or a mental health professional that can create a realistic strategy to combat your stress and get you into a good sleep routine.
Weight Loss Plan
Heavier individuals have a higher rate of sleep-related disorders. If you have some extra pounds then losing them could offer you a lot of health benefits and increase your energy levels for a more productive and fulfilling day. Weight loss can take time, but small changes can add up to a lot of weight loss over time. If you need help creating a diet plan, there are many groups that can help as well as your physician and local health department. If you have medical issues that require a special diet, then make sure to consult with your doctor so you can plan a healthy weight loss plan for your unique needs. Exercise also has a positive effect on sleep and assists with accelerating weight loss and keeping the weight off over time. If you have a friend that has been meaning to lose weight, you can team up to work out or just talk about how it is going and what is working for both of you.
If you or your spouse suffers from sleep apnea, then both of you may be experiencing sleep loss. Sleep apnea is when breathing is impaired at night. Heavy snoring and snorting sounds are common and can be too much for someone sleeping next to you to deal with if they are to get any sleep at all. Sleep apnea can point towards other disorders as well, so if you or your partner have other symptoms, it may be time to talk to a doctor. There are many treatments for sleep apnea such as surgery, special mouth pieces, and breathing assistance machines. A sleep specialist may be needed to figure out some more difficult case solutions. Sleep apnea can be scary and hard on the cardiovascular system. The interim between breathes can last for several minutes in severe cases.
Sleep Apnea Relief
The innovative CPAP machine provides a continuous stream of air into your nose and respiratory tract, so there are no major extended pauses between breathes. A CPAP machine can occasionally be used or all the time. Your doctor can help decide if a CPAP machine can offer you some relief. The downside is that you have to wear an oxygen mask at night that is attached to a tube. If you share a bed with a spouse or partner, it can take them some time to get used to having this medical device so near. The use of a CPAP machine can reduce or eliminate the need for surgery and thus be a more economical option that doesn’t require a hospital stay and lost work time.
If all else fails, then surgery for some sleep problems may be the only solution for long term success. Some surgeries can remove tissue in the throat and thus widen airways for better breathing throughout your sleep. Your doctor may even recommend removing your tonsils or do surgery to help change the alignment of your jaws, so breathing is eased. Surgeries are usually only performed when there seems to be no other option available. A sleep specialist is usually consulted in cases that approach this level of severity. Surgeries should be approached carefully, and you should understand the chances and risks that the surgery may not offer you absolute relief from your sleep problem. No surgery is going to cure a large stress load or outside noise distractions.