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3 Sleeping Tips To Help You Get A Good Night’s Sleep

3 Sleeping Tips To Help You Get A Good Night’s Sleep

One of the common side effects of living in the twenty-first century is not getting enough sleep. Having a busy schedule, juggling work and family obligations, dealing with a health crisis, and/or coping with emotional disorders like depression or anxiety can be stressful and exhausting. Ironically, when you finally turn out the lights and lay your head on the pillow, you struggle to get a  good night’s sleep.

Everyone experiences insomnia or poor sleep at some point in their lives—before a big test or job interview, for instance. Unfortunately, not being able to get good sleep can turn into a regular pattern, with negative consequences for your health and quality of life.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to maintain optimum physical, mental and psychological health; children and teenagers require more than this. Try these anti-insomnia strategies to improve your sleep.

1. Practice good sleep hygiene

Most of us practice personal hygiene (baths or showers, shaving, and clean hair) and dental hygiene (brushing and flossing) on a daily basis, but we are less used to the concept of sleep hygiene—habits that help regulate our sleeping and waking. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

– Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day

Try this for at least a month—even if your schedule is so erratic that it seems impossible. Make your sleep-wake routine a priority.

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– Make your bedroom comfortable and inviting

Your mattress and pillows should feel comfortable. Adjust the temperature, humidity, light and noise levels. For some people, having natural morning light in the room helps maintain a regular waking time.

– Help your mind start winding down

Step away from any emotionally stressful worries or thoughts, and avoid angry or stressful conversations before bedtime. Relaxing yoga exercises can be useful before sleep; save the aerobic exercises for morning or afternoon.

– Avoid stimulants

Most people know that coffee or caffeinated tea will keep you awake, but nicotine is also a stimulant. Alcohol should also be avoided too since it disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle.

– Eat your last big meal several hours before bedtime

This gives your body time to digest food before you fall asleep.

2. Change your behavior

Good sleep hygiene will help you establish an environment in your bedroom that is most conducive to falling asleep and waking up on a regular schedule. If this is not enough to solve the problem, try these simple behavioral strategies:

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– Only use your bed for sleeping

For many people, the bedroom doubles as an entertainment center. For better sleep, avoid reading, eating, watching TV or using your laptop or iPod while you are in bed. These activities stimulate the brain at a time when you want to relax. This behavior change will help you associate getting into bed with sleeping.

– If you can’t fall asleep, get up for 15 minutes

Tossing and turning and trying to force yourself to sleep can make you anxious and upset—it’s part of the insomniac’s cycle. To help break this cycle, get out of bed and indulge in a relaxing, low-stimulus activity. Read a book. Write in your journal. Close your eyes and do some deep breathing. Stay calm.

– Stop worrying

For some people, turning off the light switch at night turns on their worry switch. Chronic worriers can benefit from cognitive behavior tips. For instance, try scheduling a 20-minute period each day for all your worries. Set a timer if necessary and use those 20 minutes to run through all your worries. Then stop.

Remind yourself that you will be able to run through them again tomorrow. If a persistent worry keeps bothering you, write it down so you can worry about it at the next day’s session.

– Start meditating

You may be having trouble falling asleep because your nervous system is hyper-stimulated. Meditation reduces stress, calms the nervous system and improves sleep quality. There are many kinds of meditation practices, but most utilize a method that refocuses your attention. This focus can be your breathing, a sound or counting sheep.

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One meditative exercise that is helpful for falling asleep is to concentrate on progressively relaxing parts of your body. Lay down comfortably in bed. Starting with your toes, tighten the muscles in your feet; then release. Move up to your calves, then your thighs. As you tighten and release, make sure you breathe deeply and regularly.

3. Use sleep aids

In addition to good sleep hygiene and behavioral changes, you might find the following sleep aids helpful:

– Use a noise machine

The soothing, repetitive sounds of wind blowing or waves moving on a beach help some people relax and fall asleep. Sound generators can also block out distracting background noises like traffic. You can buy noise machines or CDs, or download MP3 selections from the Internet.

– Take herbal teas or supplements

Chamomile, spearmint, valerian, hops and lavender have traditionally been used as sleep aids. There are many teas that use these ingredients. Valerian capsules and melatonin also induce sleep.

Make sure you consult with your physician before adding any supplements to your diet. There are other medications available such as sleeping pills, (but again make sure you speak with your physician before taking them).

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– Have sex

Recent studies show that the hormones released during sex make it easier to fall asleep—so you can add sex to your list of sleep aids.

Getting a good night’s sleep is taken for granted—until you can’t get it. An inadequate amount of sleep has detrimental effects on your mood, health and energy levels. It is possible to get more sleep without using prescription medications.

It may take a while to change your habits and establish a healthier sleep regimen. Be patient and persistent. You will soon start appreciating the benefits of more sleep in all areas of your life.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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