To Your Health
March, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 03)
How To Get A Great Night's Sleep Without Taking Medicine
By Editorial Staff
Sleep - it provides rest for the weary and refreshment of your body and soul. Depending on who you are, you can spend eight hours or more in bed at a time, trying to get the rest you need.
But a good night's sleep is more than time spent in bed. There is a quality component to your sleep that is a major factor in how you feel when you wake up.
There are a number of ways you can improve the quality of your sleep. Some of these ways involve what you do before you go to bed. But the most important factor is what you actually sleep on once you crawl into bed. You spend eight hours with your head on your pillow and a mattress supporting your back. Your chances of getting a great night's sleep are almost impossible if your pillow and mattress fail to support the different segments of your spine correctly.
Preparing for Slumber
What you do and what you eat before you go to bed can play a significant role in the quality of your sleep. Your state of mind and your body's metabolism will impact your ability to fall asleep and sleep deeply. You can prepare yourself for a great night's sleep. Here are some simple do's and don'ts that will help facilitate a great night's rest:
TURN OFF WORK You can't sleep soundly with your mind still at work. If your body has left the job, your mind should, too. You need and deserve time to refresh yourself and enjoy life.
CALM YOURSELF Frustration, anxiety and worry can intrude into everyone's life. The question is, how do you handle it? Take time at the end of your day with meditation, prayer, reading, relaxation techniques, talking to a loved one or just sitting quietly; let go of anything that might be bothering you, at least for the time being.
EXERCISE AND/OR STRETCH Many people find that engaging in physical activity before going to bed helps relieve the tension that can build up by the end of the day. The more tension you feel, the more vigorously you may need to exercise. Just remember to give yourself an appropriate "cool-down" period before getting into bed, or you won't be able to fall asleep.
EAT AT LEAST ONE HOUR BEFORE BEDTIME Give your body plenty of time to begin digesting your food before you try to sleep. This will reduce that bloated feeling you may have and will help your body feel more relaxed.
AVOID MENTAL OVERSTIMULATION It's important to relax after working all day. But replacing job worries with violent movies or mindless video games may actually cause your brain to concentrate more intensely than it would if you were still at work. Make sure your evening activities are relaxing and nurturing, rather than of a combative or problem-solving nature.
AVOID SWEETS Eating foods that give your body quick bursts of energy will thwart your ability to relax. Sugars and other simple carbohydrates boost your energy level, making it harder to fall asleep. (They're also not healthy for you, nutritionally speaking.) Consider foods that are more complex and thus digest more slowly, such as light proteins, vegetables or small amounts of fruit.