Naturally proven Tips on Better Sleep.
You Make The Bed You Lie In
The main function of a bed is to support sleep and to have sex. If you have sleep problems, it may be a good idea to start off thinking about what you actually do in bed.
It’s important that your brain learns to associate lying in bed with sleeping. Moreover, other activities that are often carried out in bed, such as watching TV, reading a book using your bedside lamp, or watching something on your tablet, laptop, or phone, expose you to bright light before trying to sleep.
Because of the light, your brain gets tricked into thinking that it’s daytime. Thus, the brain continues to produce those hormones that normally enable you to distinguish that its daytime and it takes longer to fall asleep when you close your eyes. Scientific studies show that the blueish light from smartphones and tablets disrupts the sleep hormone, which makes it tougher to fall asleep and also can affect your next-morning alertness.
PS. This doesn’t mean that no one should ever have a TV in his or her bedroom. If you don’t have any problems falling asleep, there is nothing wrong with having your TV, bedside lamp, tablet or phone as bed companion before going to sleep. But, if you do have trouble sleeping, turn off the television, turn down the lights, and don’t bring your phone or tablet to bed.
And The Number To The Sandman Is…
First and foremost, you have a bed so that you can sleep in it. If you find that you can’t sleep despite trying hard, this may be because you’re actually doing something else, that is, you’re trying to sleep.
Trying to sleep can be a febrile activity. You might lie in bed thinking: “I must fall asleep, I must fall asleep, I must fall asleep. I need to get up in 6 hours and I can’t be tired.” You may even twist and turn whilst thinking this to yourself.
Lying in bed thinking increases the risk of you associating the bed with not sleeping. If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes, get up again!
Choose a spot in your home, such as a chair in a different room, where you have to sit when you can’t sleep. Read the most boring book you own. If you have a telephone catalog lying around at home, this is an excellent candidate.
Read the book or telephone catalog until you feel that you’re about to fall asleep. Then, go back to your bed. If you still can’t sleep after another 20 minutes, get up again, go back to the chair, and read the telephone catalog again.
PS. It may be tempting to use the time to do something productive, but don’t read anything interesting or exciting! The point is to make you tired, not to get you excited.
Lose The Nap
You need to sleep in order for your body and brain to recover. A 20-minute daytime nap is an effective way of recuperating and it can be a good idea if you need to recover quickly.
However, if you take your nap too late in the afternoon your body will not be in need of the same level of recovery at night, and it will be more difficult to sleep. If you really need a nap, try to do it early in the day – preferably before 3 pm – in order to guarantee that you will be able to sleep at night.
Start Winding Down
Start winding down 30 minutes before going to bed. This is a good way to reduce the amount of time needed to relax in bed before falling asleep.
It’s preferable to wind down outside of bed rather than in bed since if you use your bed as a place to wind down the risk increases that you will start thinking about everything that needs to be done, and this may result in you associating your bed with rumination.
Remember, you are meant to sleep and have sex in your bed – you’re not meant to associate your bed with deep or intense thinking.
Cock A Doodle Do, Time To Wake Up
If you decide when you will wake up every day, you can use this time to calculate when you need to go to bed at night.
Waking up at the same time every day, weekdays and weekends provide your body with the opportunity to adjust when it starts getting tired.
But I am Not Tired Yet!
Only go to bed when you feel tired. This method has the same effect as the previous exercise, which asked you to start winding down 30 minutes before going to bed.
If you only go to bed when you feel tired, you reduce the risk of having to lie awake in bed and hence reduce the risk of starting to associate your bed with anything other than sleep.
Skip The Evening Coffee
The stimulant effect of coffee lasts for several hours (it has a long “half-life”), so if you have sleep problems and are used to drinking coffee in the evening it may be worth your while trying to change this habit.
Exhaust Yourself With Physical Exercise
You need to sleep in order for your body and brain to recover. If your body doesn’t need to recover it will be harder for you to fall asleep. An effective way of creating a need to sleep is physical exercise, such as jogging.
Remember not to exercise too close to your bedtime (late at night), since you will activate your body instead of winding down preparing to sleep. Allow your body at least two hours to wind down after physical exercise, and you will give yourself an honest chance of being able to fall asleep.
Don’t forget that everyday physical activity, such as walking, also falls under the category “physical exercise.” Walking every day is more important for sleep quality than most people believe.
A Penny For Your Thought
Do you often lie awake in bed not being able to stop thinking about what you need to do tomorrow? Try keeping a little notepad by your bed where you can write down what you’re worried about – use concise language or bullet points.
The probability that you will “solve your worries” when lying there half-asleep is minimal, so the best thing to do is to go through the list when you wake up in the morning.
Most people using this technique notice that it becomes easier to fall asleep (as they now won’t forget to deal with their worries the morning after). And the things that people write down in their notepad? Well, those things are often easier to solve in the morning…
The Breathing Ladder
A simple but efficient exercise to help you sleep is the “Breathing Ladder.” Concentrate on your breathing whilst counting from 1 to 10, and then backward from 10 to 1.
Breathe in 1, breathe out 1, breathe in 2, breathe out 2, and so on, until you reach 10. Breathe slowly and feel how your breathing travels all the way deep down to your belly, and then back again. Breathe through your nose, if you are comfortable doing so.
You will start thinking of other things when you do this exercise. When you acknowledge that this happens, you should praise yourself for noticing this, and then move your focus back to the breathing.
When you have reached 10, start counting backward from 10 to 1 in the same way as before. Breathe in 10, breathe out 10, breathe in 9, breathe out 9…
Continue to count your breathing until you fall asleep, or until as long as you are comfortable doing the exercise.
Lying in bed and counting your breathing requires focus. While doing it you might start thinking about everything you need to do tomorrow, and thinking about problems that you can’t solve anyway whilst lying in bed. Good – you just acknowledged that you weren’t focusing on your breathing any longer. Give yourself a pat on the back and continue focusing on your breathing. Feel how the air flows through your nose, into your windpipe, and then down into your lungs. Your abdomen is filled with air, and you’re breathing deeply.
By constantly focusing on your breathing, you make it harder for yourself to worry about those things that otherwise keep you awake. Focusing on breathing is a common and successful technique used when meditating, it’s a really powerful tool to help you calm down.
This exercise may not always work, but every now and then you will find that you have only climbed a few steps on the Breathing Ladder, and then you wake up rested the next morning.
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