Often I got the question of how to get better sleep naturally? Some people claim to have the definitive answer to everyone’s problem of getting to sleep:
- Use the positive thought-control method
- Learn self-management
- Take up transcendental meditation
- Relax yourself to sleep on a water bed
- Try hypnotic sleep therapy
All easy advice to give, but we believe that while a mind at peace is the most important prerequisite for sleep there is no simple knack that can achieve this ideal state.
Let’s discuss widely how to get better sleep naturally
There are several things, though, you can try that may help you to get to sleep; although what is successful for one person, might not be for another.
Again, it is really up to you to find out by trial and error what works best for you.
On the other hand, there are things we would advise you to avoid that are bound to cause you to lose more sleep than perhaps you do already.
What you can do during the day
Getting up early in the morning
This is probably your surest way of falling asleep quickly at night. Try getting up earlier as a matter of routine; the more regular you are in your habits, the better will be the quality of your sleep.
Most people in our modern society, especially in middle age, take far too little exercise.
Many of us have had the experience of taking a good walk in the morning, and then falling asleep after lunch, or of having a long walk in the afternoon and wanting to drop off to sleep earlier than usual in the evening.
Very severe, unaccustomed exercise, though, will disturb sleep, for the heart keeps on beating fast, the temperature stays raised and the whole body remains in an overheated and excited state through the night.
Strenuous exercise too close to bedtime will have similar effects.
It is known that if fit people take exercise on one day and not on another, they tend to fall asleep more quickly after the exercise and sleep rather longer on that night than the other; and in the case of a really deep sleep, after exercise.
At Edinburgh we also found that extra growth hormone was released into the blood during sleep, to help the tissues restore themselves after the extra exercise by day.
So more exercise means better sleep, but what again is important is the regularity of habits, and sudden gross excesses should be avoided indeed if you plan to take up a strenuous form of exercise (jogging or tennis, for example) or to return to a sport after a long layoff, ale to easy at first especially if you are over forty.
There is no reason why you cannot achieve a reasonable degree of fitness at any age, but the older you are, the more gradually you must be.
Before going to bed try to direct your attention away from the pressures of the day. Some find practicing a hobby a good way of winding down in the evening; others prefer to watch television (ob-piously it makes sense not to watch the late-night horror film if the macabre disturbs you); and for many, a hot bath helps relaxation.
This is a time to avoid, if you can, emotional arguments, excitement, and intense mental or physical activity (apart from sex), as the more alert and stimulated you are, the longer it will take you to fall asleep.
Once in bed, you will tend to succumb to sleep more quickly if you are relaxed and warm, and if your basic needs for food and sex are satisfied.
Your bedtime reading matter is your own choice, but a long romantic novel may well have you nodding off faster than a racy thriller.
During the cold winter months ensure that your bed-room is warmed up before you go to bed and that you have sufficient nightwear and bedclothes to prevent you from waking up shivering in the small hours.
Relaxing in the evening is a good way to prepare for sleep.
Although, as we have said, we don’t believe there is any foolproof sleep-inducing technique, we do think that it is possible to have some degree of control over your thoughts as you close your eyes and prepare to drop off.
They deliberately direct your mind away from troubling, stressful, and unhappy thoughts, and don’t start attempting to solve problems that have been worrying you during the day. Put them away for tomorrow, let go and relax.
Picturing some pleasant scenario-a summer vacation perhaps-may well lead you on to tranquil trains of thought more suited to sleep.
Banishing daytime worries from your mind is just as important if you wake in the middle of the night.
This is when the tie spent awake probably causes the most concern about the loss of sleep. But there is no need to be weighed down by this added anxiety, for as we said earlier, loss of sleep will do you any harm, and in the long run, you will get the sleep you need.
We realize that for the seriously depressed person lying awake, it may be impossible to stop worrying. But other people find what suits them.
One seventy-year-old man told us he had cured his sleep problem by getting out of bed at about one O’clock every morning and then taking an ice-cold bath, after which he returned to bed and slept.
Many people, after lying awake, do get up, pass urine, walkabout, or drink tea. Do what comes naturally, by all means, but as a general rule regularity is a thing to aim for.
Daytime is the time for being up and about, night-time for lying in bed and not for constantly trotting around.
Most people like to curl up on their sides or tummies, rather than lie on their backs for going to sleep, but they will spend much of the later night on their backs.
It is best to find a really comfortable position as soon as possible because the more restless you are-then the more tossing and turning you do-the more delayed you will be in falling asleep.
If you want to get to sleep quickly, it helps to find a really comfortable position. Many people like to curl up on their sides.
You make your choice over the color of the wallpaper, it matters only to you, and you decide for yourself whether you want to leave the door open and have the dog thumping his hail on the floor in the middle of the night, or the cat to jump on top of you.
If the summer sun shines into your eyes in the morning, turn the bed around or put up thicker curtains or drapes. And whether you sleep with the window open or closed in again purely a matter of taste and warmth.
There is no evidence that fresh air is better for sleep than stale air or vice versa; but do keep warm, especially if you have chest trouble.
If your bed is making sleep more difficult for you, because it is old and lumpy, perhaps, or because it sags and forces you and your partner both to roll down to the dip in the center of the bed and to fight in your sleep to clamber up again, it is well worth considering buying a new bed.
Some people will buy a new lounge suite to impress the neighbors, but carry on with the same ancient bed and worn-out mattress, which might be preventing them from getting a proper night’s rest.
A good bed has a sprung-base to match a spring mattress and it should not sag. The degree of firmness you require depends partly on your weight and partly on your own preference.
The mattress should be firm enough to support your back when, during paradoxical sleep, all the muscles go limp and throw the load on the ligaments.
Our ancestors slept on the floor of their caves and so our bodies have been designed for sleeping on firm surfaces. It takes time, after your old sagger, to get used to a new bed and mattress, so give it a few weeks, and in time it will prove itself.
Pillows should not be too deep and should be soft so as to be gentler on the ears.
If you are disturbed by your partner’s movements on a double mattress, try sleeping on two single beds zipped and linked together. This has the added advantage of allowing each partner to have the type of mattress he or she prefers.
Rabbit’s foot charms have no action on sleep and the only bedroom gadget that has a genuine effect is a box sold in some countries for producing monotonous beating sounds, like heartbeats, or the sound of waves on the seashore.
Monotonous noises really do induce sleep a bit more quickly, but no one knows if the effects will persist over weeks and months.
Sleeping drugs and alcohol
There is a popular misconception that a tot of spirits at bedtime is the surest guarantee of a good night’s sleep. But we are convinced that using alcohol to help you get to sleep is definitely a bad idea, especially if you are depressed, irritable, and tired.
Alcohol does send you to sleep more quickly, but it will disturb your sleep later on in the night. We would also advise you not to turn to sleep pills as a long-term solution to our sleeping problem.
However, reasonable compromises have to be found to suit every individual situation. Thanking a prescribed sleeping drug on one or two nights consecutively can be a boon to some people, without the risk of them experiencing bad sleep afterward.
Hospitals are noisy and frightening places and if you have to go in for an operation, you will probably have trouble sleeping.
On such an occasion it seems eminently reasonable that you should have a sleeping drug on the few nights before your operation, though care should be taken that regular intake does not develop and that the drug is stopped by the time you return home.
Crises just as worrying as an operation can occur within the home. Here the same commonsense use of drugs should again apply, but only as a rare prop.
You will discover that we are not over-enthusiastic about sleeping drugs, (a side effect of sleeping drug) but at least the ones that are prescribed and are taken in carefully measured doses are both cheaper and also much less damaging to the liver and the nervous system than alcohol.
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