Sleep Hygiene Part II

Here, we continue the discussion of sleep hygiene begun in Part I and outline several other ways you can help ensure your body gets the rest it needs.

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We previously discussed some relaxation techniques designed to help get your mind and your body to relax so it's easier to fall asleep in Sleep Hygiene Part I. This section continues the discussion and outlines several other ways you can improve your sleep hygiene, which will help ensure your body gets the rest it needs.

Take a bath

If asked, many people would tell you that bathing is necessary for hygiene, or, is just a luxury...a great way to relax, perhaps.

Well, that last part is very true. A bath is a great way to help your mind and body unwind after a busy day.

Better yet, there's another reason why taking a bath helps you sleep. A hot bath taken 60 - 90 minutes before going to bed will cause your body temperature to rise. Then your body temperature will start to fall and that's key to sleeping better because that drop is going to make you feel sleepy.

Eat lightly before bed

Pay attention to the word "lightly".

Eating a heavy meal shortly before bedtime can cause discomfort, and, depending on what you ate, may cause heartburn which worsens, or may become acid reflux when you lie down. Both likely will cause you to awaken during normal sleep cycles. Healthy, lighter, snacks before going to bed can help you from feeling hungry during the night without interfering with your sleep as heavier snacks will do. A light snack may be a good idea, because if you do get hungry during the night you'll become restless and probably won't be able to sleep as deeply.

Certain foods, such as peanuts, turkey and milk help increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical within the body that helps you to relax. If you don't have any of these food items, eating cereal or toast with milk can help keep hunger under control. By the way, many people avoid drinking milk due to a lactose intolerance, however, there are products available, such as Lactaid brand milk which are great for people with that problem. Another option for the lactose intolerant, are products such as Digestive Advantage Lactose Defense Formula which helps you avoid the discomfort associated with the problem.

Also, if you don't want to wake constantly because you have to go to the bathroom, limit the amount of liquids you drink prior to bedtime. Rule of thumb, don't drink any closer than an hour-and-a-half before bedtime and take the time to go before you lay down.

Keep a notepad by your bed

If you attempt to sleep with your head focused on all the things you didn't do today and all of the things you need to do tomorrow, sleep will never come. Getting those and other issues out of your head and onto paper will help. So before you go to sleep, take a few moments to write down those issues that are troublesome, causing anxiety or even the things you are looking forward to. That way, you can get some rest.

Don't try to sleep if you aren't sleepy

If you lie in bed when you aren't sleepy you'll just toss and turn. If you want to go to bed but don't feel like sleep will soon follow, start reading. But do so somewhere other than the bed. It will help you become drowsy. Once you do feel drowsy, then it's time to get into bed. But still, if you are awake after 20 minutes or so, get out and do some other mundane task.

Try not to rely on prescription or OTC sleep aids. Discontinue their use and instead focus your efforts on developing better sleep hygiene. Incorporate the changes delineated in this article and soon enough you may find that the quality of your sleep has greatly improved!

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Sleep Hygiene Part II
Page Updated 6:33 PM Monday, December 4, 2023