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5 Tips to Better Sleep

Posted On December 1, 2013
December 01, 2013

Tossing and turning? Up and watching the clock as the minutes click away from getting a good night of sleep? Lack of quality sleep can turn a normally happy-go-lucky, upbeat person into a crotchety grouch who everyone steers clear of throughout the day. Of course, on occasion, we have all been there before: stress, family issues, or a full gamut of worries can wreak havoc on our mind causing us to lose sleep.

The following are a couple of tips that you can follow to keep the sleepless nights to a minimum.

1. You are what you eat and drink.

There’s an old saying that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. If you follow these words of wisdom, you will not only have energy to give your day a jolt of unbridled energy but you will also be able to sleep like a baby. Eating a heavy and large meal toward the end of your day will put your stomach and intestines to work, which makes sleep more difficult. It is smart to avoid fatty foods that stress your digestive system, and acidic or spicy foods late in the day can instigate heartburn and upset stomach.

For some individuals who might need a bedtime snack, it is advisable to partake in dairy foods and complex carbs but consume them no more than an hour before going to bed.

Some suggestions would be:

  • Bowl of cereal with milk
  • Granola with yogurt
  • Banana
  • Half of a turkey sandwich
  • Crackers and cheese

With regard to the beverages you drink, avoid alcohol before heading to the bedroom. Granted, alcohol has a sedative effect and can make people drowsy, but once the buzz goes away, the opposite can occur. Sleep can be restless with frequent instances of wakening. Best to also dial back the quantity of what drinks you consume, whether water, juice, warm milk or even herbal tea. If you stop drinking 2 hours before bedtime, you can cut down on trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

2. Cut down on the full-test java and black tea late in the day.

Many people know the benefit of a good cup of Joe first thing in the morning, which can give you the kick in the pants to get your day started. But as the hours of the day move toward evening, it is advisable to avoid caffeine-infused beverages. Why? Caffeine remains in your system anywhere from 3 to 5 hours after consumption and causes your deep stages of sleep to be disrupted. And thus even a mere Hershey’s kiss or decaffeinated coffee may affect your nighttime rest. In addition, be aware that there are some medications and weight loss products that contain caffeine.

3. Exercise can improve your overall body and mind.

Studies have demonstrated that consistent exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. People who walk, run, bike or perform any other form of physical activity tend to fall asleep faster and reap the benefits of deeper sleep. Of note, it is important to not exercise intensely 3 to 4 hours before putting your head down on the pillow. However, before bedtime, yoga and tai chi are perfectly fine as they assist in winding down and relaxing the mind.

4. Pets can be like family but keep them off the bed.

According to a Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center survey, more than half of people who own pets shared that their quality of sleep is negatively impacted.  No matter if your furry and four-legged family member is a dog or a cat, pets can move around at night and prevent you from achieving a good night of sleep. Add to the mix that their bodies can be a haven for fleas, ticks, dander and pollen, sparking sleep-disruptive sneezing and nasal congestion.

5. Develop a pre-sleep ritual.

Your mind and body are active all day. It is no surprise that it can be quite a challenge to turn off or wind down and free your mind as you prepare to close out the day with much-needed rest. Creating a pre-sleep ritual that you perform every evening about an hour before hitting the hay can help.

Here are some suggestions that can get you started:

  • If you have any current worries, put them into list form and develop a plan to deal with them the next day.
  • Take a warm bath or shower, and even better use sleep-inducing soap scents like lavender and chamomile.
  • Read a book with a small reading light, or listen to an audio version.
  • Listen to calming, meditative music.

If these tips don’t solve your sleep issues, it might be time to seek out professional help. Please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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