Need a better night's sleep?
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Remember, some soft drinks like Cola and some foods such as chocolate contain caffeine.
If you have insomnia, don't reach for a drink. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but your sleep will be unsettled. After a nightcap, you may wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep.
A study at the Stanford University showed that people over 50 - the group most likely to have trouble sleeping - can sleep better if they exercise regularly. The men and women in the experiment, sedentary but healthy, were put on 30 to 40 minute exercise sessions four times a week (brisk walking or stationary cycling).
Compared with the control group who remained sedentary, the exercisers reported not only that they slept almost an hour longer but that they had halved the time it took them to fall asleep.
Exercise yes ... but avoid vigorous exercise before bedtime!
Sleep Routine — improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep
Go to bed and get up at about the same time each day
Avoid daytime napping. This could worsen your sleep difficulties at night.
Use your bed for sleeping. Do work-related tasks and watching TV in another place
Don't go to bed hungry ... or too full. If hunger is disturbing your sleep, have a light snack before going to bed.
Otherwise, avoid meals and snacks within 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Relax for an hour or so before getting into bed. Read, listen to music, take a warm bath. Don't take work to bed with you. Avoid strenuous exercise within a couple of hours of bedtime. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool (16-18°c / 60-65°f is best). Don't drink caffeinated beverages after dinner. Try to establish a regular sleep schedule.
If you can't sleep get up and so something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Lying in bed worrying about being unable to sleep may make you tense and upset rather than sleepy
Beds, pillows and bed clothes
Comfortable mattress: Be as comfortable in bed as possible. If your mattress is too hard, consider purchasing a mattress overlay. (Hard mattresses were the fashion a few years ago - and a mattress topper may be just what you need).
Comfortable Pillow: Your spending a third of you life in bed - invest in a pillow that supports your head and neck in comfort.
Bed Clothes: Wear loose fitting night clothes that do not restrict movement.
Darken your room.
Draw your curtains to keep your room darkened if this is a problem then try a mask.
If you're a light sleeper and outside noise is a problem try a white-noise machine. This will mask irritating noise with hum or dull roar that is less noticeable than sudden sounds. You can also use a fan or air conditioner to block out noise.
About the Author:
Leon Parnham is the CEO of Therapeutic Pillow International.