The negative consequences resulting from a lack of sleep are alarming. Among these potential side effects are health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, depression, forgetfulness, and weight gain. Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning, which means that lack of sleep can lead to inability to focus and learn efficiently. Thus, not getting enough sleep at night not only makes it hard to carry out daily tasks, it also takes a major toll on our mental and physical health. Unfortunately, with all the stress of modern life, insomnia is on the rise. If you’re having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, try these tips for winding down and making the most of your shut-eye time.
1. Practice relaxation techniques.Make it a habit not to bring stress to bed with you. That means before you even get in bed, you must turn off your whirring mind. Research different relaxation techniques, such as meditation, visualization exercises, or going through your body muscle by muscle, relaxing each muscle in turn, and choose one that best suits you. The technique you choose should slow down your body and your mind in preparation for sleep.
2. Read a book or magazine.As a society, we have made a bad habit of wanting constant noise – be it TV, music, video games. This constant noise doesn’t allow your brain to have any down time. Turn off the TV and computer at least two hours before bed, and instead do some reading. Reading fiction is relaxing and will help you take your mind off your day, and magazines are a good source of mindless stress relief (unless they’re current events magazines that tend to get you riled up). Needless to say, it’s probably best to avoid business books or any other type of book that gets your mind moving.
3. Quit the caffeine after lunch. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so if you want to be sure to get a good night’s sleep, don’t drink coffee after lunch. Try tea as a substitute – it has only one-third the caffeine of coffee, so for most people it won’t interfere with sleep if consumed in the afternoon. However, if you’re having insomnia, it may be better to err on the side of caution.
4. Get rid of ambient light. You may not even realize it’s there, but light shining in through your bedroom window or filtering in from the bathroom can go a long way toward keeping you awake. If your bedroom is too bright, put in heavier curtains, or buy a sleep mask.
5. Put away stressful issues. Right before bed is a really bad time to get into a fight with your partner, do work or talk about anything emotional. All of these activities release the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream, which makes you more alert. If you can’t stop thinking about stressful issues at bedtime, write them down in a notebook, acknowledge that they are stressful, and then put them away for the night — don’t adopt a “don’t think about elephants” approach, as this will only make you think about whatever’s bothering you more.
6. Go to bed when you’re tired, and get out of bed if you’re not. Lying in bed trying to force yourself to sleep just adds to your stress, and it certainly doesn’t help you fall asleep. Teach yourself to associate your bed with sleepiness, not with insomnia. If you just can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something else until you’re sleepy again.
When sleep feels stressful, your insomnia will only get worse. Do everything you can to relax your body and mind before heading to bed, and you’ll greatly improve your chances of having a restful night’s sleep —and feeling great all the next day.
About the Author:
Tina Daniels writes about self-improvement for VapeWorld.com.