Secrets To a Good Night's Sleep
With today's fast-paced, hectic and stressful lifestyles, it can be difficult to get a good night's sleep, i.e., tossing, turning, worrying and finally falling asleep, only to be easily awakened by the slightest noise. When morning comes, you feel more exhausted than when you went to sleep.
Here are some suggestions to help you fall asleep quickly, sleep soundly, and awaken energized.
Write Down Your Worries
An hour or two before you go to sleep, write down your worries for the day. This may include a "to do" list for the following day. For some people this is enough and they can fall asleep without having to worry that they will forget something on their list.
For other people, they may have to go on to the next step of making two columns on the paper; one for things you have control over and the other for things you have no control over. It might sound ridiculous, but it's amazing how much anxiety can be created by worrying about things we cannot control.
For the list of things you can control, write down some ideas of what you can do to resolve the problem(s). For the list of things you can't control, mentally let them go. If you find yourself coming back to them, visualize them in the things you can't control column.
File your paper and pen in the night stand for the night. You can always add to it if you remember something else that is bothering you.
Avoid Television and Computer for One Hour Prior to Bedtime
This is especially true for action-packed or horror shows/movies. If you insist on watching something, try something light like a comedy.
Better yet, read something that helps you relax -- maybe a gardening magazine or a romance novel.
Go to Bed at 9 pm
Your body does most of its healing between 10pm and 1am. Second and third shift workers are at a disadvantage healthwise because of this. They are more likely to be afflicted with cancer, heart disease, and headaches.
Sleep in Complete Darkness
Do you have light emitting from electronic devices (TV, radio, DVD player, clock, etc.) in your room? Ideally, you should get them out of your bedroom. The second best option is to unplug them. In addition to the light they emit, the electomagnetic fields that they produce can also disrupt your sleep pattern.
When the pineal gland in your brain receives information of darkness (from the optic nerves in your eyes), it begins to release the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. These neurotransmitters play crucial roles in the quality of your sleep.
If you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, consider doing it in complete darkness (as long as you feel safe from falling, tripping, etc.). Once your eyes receive light, your body's production of melatonin ceases for the entire night.
Use light-blocking shades or drapes. If needed, use an eye mask.
Do not use a night light (this includes infants and children).
Hide Your Clock
Put your clock out of your sight and at least 3 feet away from your bed. Hide it upside down and under your bed, especially if it is emitting any light.
Set Your Alarm to the Quietest Setting
Loud beeping is extremely stressful to wake up to. Instead, wake up to the radio or chimes set at the quietest setting that will work for you.
Eat a Healthy Diet
If your diet includes lots of food from restaurants, cans, boxes, or frozen dinners, it is probably highly processed and full of synthetic chemicals. One of these chemicals, monosodium glutamate (MSG), is actually an excitotoxin, meaning that it excites and stimulates your brain. This is not conducive to a sound sleep.
Even if the ingredient list says, "No MSG", it is probably still in there. If you see words such as autolyzed, hydrolyzed, modified, enzymes, spices, or natural flavoring, they commonly contain processed free glutamic acid, which causes the same adverse reactions as MSG.
Avoid Caffeine Six Hours Prior to Bedtime
No matter how accustomed to caffeine your body is, it is a stimulant and is very likely to interfere with sound sleep.
If you do drink coffee earlier in the day, try to buy organic coffee that you grind and brew at home. Coffee that you buy ready to drink is more likely to contain added synthetic chemicals and flavor enhancers that may interfere with a good night's sleep.
Avoid drinking hot coffee out of styrofoam cups. Styrofoam leaches styrene and other toxic aromatic compounds into the beverage. Use your own ceramic or stainless steel travel mug instead.
Avoid Alcohol Six hours Prior to Bedtime
Although alcohol helps you to fall asleep, you are actually more likely to wake up and have difficultly falling back to sleep once it wears off.
Alcohol decreases your ability to fall into the deeper stages of sleep where most of the body's healing takes place. You are also more likely to become dehydrated, making it more difficult for your body to rid itself of toxins.
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