It has long been recognised that poor quality sleep results in poor quality skin. But there’s more to sleep than just a pretty face.
Getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to good health, but the truth is that many people have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting the type of restorative sleep that is the most beneficial for health. According to the National Institutes of Health, around one-third of all adults suffer from insomnia occasionally, and around one out of ten adults are chronically unable to sleep well at night. Many people find themselves turning to prescription sleep aids to catch a few winks of shut, and although these medications can be helpful over the short term, they are not designed as a long-term solution to sleeping problems. A better alternative is to look for natural ways to sleep better.
Foster Good Sleep Habits
One key to good sleep is to develop good sleeping habits. This means creating a bedroom environment that lends itself to sleeping. Start by only using your bedroom for bedroom activities, including sleeping and sex. Don’t allow pets to share your bed or to wonder in at will during the night. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, cool, and free from distractions that might make your mind wander while you’re trying to snag a bit of “shut eye,” like televisions and computers.
Avoid Stimulants Late in the Afternoon
Soda, coffee, and other beverages that contain stimulants can be making you unable to sleep well at night. If you’re going to enjoy coffee or other caffeinated beverages, be sure to imbibe during the earlier part of your day. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants for about five hours or so before retiring for the night and you’ll avoid the caffeine buzz that can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Create a Going-to-Bed Ritual
One reason that you may be having trouble sleeping is that your natural clock has somehow become reset. Having a bedtime ritual can help to put your body back on its appropriate time schedule. Create a bedtime ritual that will help your body realize that bedtime is nigh. Take a hot bubble bath surrounded by candles or listen to a soothing relaxation CD. Drink something warm to raise the core temperature of your body. Dim the lights. Breathe deeply. Whatever you do to relax during your ritual, the key here is to doing it ritualistically.
Turn the Clock Around
Many people find themselves hoping to sleep, only to glance over and see a clock with a bright red display, taunting them and reminding them that they need to rise in just a few short hours, even though sleep has eluded them. Having a clock to count down the time you’re not sleeping can actually keep your mind turning and keep you from actually sleeping. Turn the clock around so that you can’t see it and you’ll find that it is easier to forget that you should have already been asleep, and possibly fall asleep instead.
Bid Farwell to Your Bedtime Snack
A light snack before bed can be fine, but having a heavy meal in the few hours prior to laying down can lead to trouble sleeping. This can be exacerbated by heartburn and tummy upset, especially if you eat fat-laden, overly processed, or spicy foods. A better alternative is a light snack that doesn’t fill you up, like a piece of fruit or a glass of juice.
It is also important to note that if all else fails, there’s no shame in seeing a doctor for insomnia. The human body needs sleep, and if you’re not getting enough, your health can really suffer. Don’t be afraid to discuss your lack of sleep and trouble falling asleep with your family doctor.
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