Post supplied by Howard Caseley from Rest Easily.com.

A good night’s sleep is something that we often take advantage of. That is until you are in bed at three in the morning, tossing and turning with dawn just around the corner. Then going to sleep is all you can think about as anxiety sets in and you are forced to get up a few hours later. The aftermath of a sleepless night includes feeling groggy with little or no will or energy to conquer the world or even get out of bed. Unfortunately, sleepless nights are all to common as millions of people suffer from sleep deprivation.

But rest assured. Sleep does not have to be an ongoing nightmare. Instead, there are several tips you can use to help induce a good night’s sleep. Here are a few (no, counting sheep is not one of them)

  1. Get into a Daily and Nightly Routine:

A daily routine (acquiring a natural sleep-wake routine) may help you in getting a good night’s sleep while establishing what is called a circadian rhythm-a pattern of sleep/wake.

  • Go to bed at the same time. Yes, we love to stay up past our bedtime and sleep in the next day but if you want to wake up feeling refreshed, a consistent routine is essential. Going to bed and waking up at a regular time sets up your internal routine clock. Disrupting, on the other hand, that internal clock may have you waking up feeling groggy and jet lagged.
  • Before going to bed, limit activities. Activities that require a lot of thinking or energy will leave you too stimulated to fall asleep. On the contrary, light activities such as doing dishes, reading, or relaxing may help make you tired and therefore sleepy. Avoid heavy duty workouts at night. While exercise is great to speed up metabolism, it takes between 3 to 6 hours to settle the body.
  1. Dietary Suggestions:
  • To get a good night’s sleep, cut down on caffeine. It is best to keep your morning joe to just one in the morning. Caffeine is a stimulant and will make it more difficult for you to get your zzz’s.
  • Avoid heavy meals. Eat now, pay later. A big meal of fatty or spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion.
  • Stay away from large amounts of liquids. Soda, water, coffee. Too many drinks can cause frequent trips to the bathroom and keep you up.
  • If you are hungry, try a light snack of that combines tryptophan and carbs. A banana and milk, a small turkey sandwich, and granola and yoghurt are good choices.
  1. Create a Calm Cool Environment: In order to get a good night’s sleep, create a gentle, calming environment which is conducive to sleep.
  • Get lots of natural light during the day. Long days in the office can impact your sleep. Instead, natural light regulates your sleep and is a natural melatonin. A short walk, eat outside are helpful.
  • Control stimulants such as TV and the computer. Not only do the blue lights by electronics interfere with your sleep, but these devices can simulate your brain. Try gentle music instead.
  • Make your room cool and comfortable. It may be worth investing in a good bed, sheets and pillow especially since we spend so much time in bed.
  • Stress can increase the hormone cortisol which may increase alertness. Try meditation, deep breathing, talking to a friend, and early workouts to decrease stress.
  • If you still have trouble sleeping, and you cannot function, you may want to seek medical attention.
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