You can enjoy a better quality of life and find peace of mind by making sure that you get needed rest every night.
Everyone has an occasional restless night. However, when restlessness turns into insomnia, it can become a severe problem that affects your quality of life.
I’ve struggled with insomnia since my high school years. As I entered my middle-years, however, I realized that something had to change.
When Enough Is Enough
In my youth, ongoing sleeplessness led to problems with yo-yoing weight, injuries and a lack of focus and attention. It was clear that lack of sleep was causing me to experience physical and emotional problems, which in turn led to more stress.
Sleeplessness is a common problem among children and teens who need sleep for healthy development. Sleeping issues can, however, affect individuals of all ages, although teens face a higher risk of developing physical and emotional problems due to sleeplessness.
Finally, I decided to do something about it. I was determined to start falling asleep – and staying asleep.
I tried several different remedies over the years. I can remember one time I read where it helps to get up and do something if you can’t fall asleep, such as performing jumping jacks. I would blindly follow this kind of bad advice, even though it didn’t help.
Like many other people, I was willing to do nearly anything to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, that led to bad decision-making on my part.
Your Body Has Boundaries
Nearly everyone notices that it seems easier to fall asleep with a full stomach. However, you should ask, what’s really at play here?
Some researchers have found that certain foods make it harder to fall asleep, for instance, fatty foods. Researchers also suggest avoiding fatty foods towards the end of the day, according to a report issued by the Mayo Clinic. Scientists believe that large, high-fat content meals actually make it harder to fall asleep.
It’s also a good idea to stay away from caffeine late in the day and right before bedtime. The bad part about drinking caffeine late in the day is that it takes several hours for the stimulant effect of caffeine to go away.
On the other end of the spectrum, alcohol late in the day or right before bedtime isn’t a great idea either. Alcohol will make you sleepy, however, more than likely you will wake up in the middle of the night.
The same applies to any fluids. If you drink a lot of fluids late in the day right before bed, you’re going to have to get up to relieve yourself at some point. As a matter of fact, you may have to get up several times to use the bathroom, and you can’t sleep and go to the bathroom at the same time – or at least you don’t want to.
Instead of turning to drastic measures such as heavy late-night meals and alcohol to get to sleep, focus on balancing your diet during the day. A healthy diet and weight as well as regular exercise can help you get the sleep that you need.
An Active Lifestyle Can Help You Sleep Better
Researchers have collected quantifiable evidence that exercise can help you fall asleep more quickly and enjoy more restful sleep. However, the jury is still out on the best time of day to exercise.
Everybody’s different. The best thing that you can do in this regard is to pay attention to how your body reacts to exercise that you perform at different times of the day.
Researchers don’t know how exercise helps you to sleep. However, they do understand that aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow-wave sleep that you enjoy each night.
During slow-wave sleep, your body goes through a physiological response called non-rapid eye movement. During this phase of deep sleep, your mind consolidates and manages your memories, an important task that helps you to focus the next day.
Slow-wave sleep also helps you to recharge physically. It can help you to avoid the side effects of a poor night’s sleep, such as a lack of focus and headaches.
Cleaning House: Let’s Talk About Sleep Hygiene
Restful sleep will improve your quality of life. Doing things to promote restful sleep is called sleep hygiene.
To start your sleep hygiene journey, it helps to stick with a sleep schedule. You should get up and go to bed at the same time every day. This will help to establish your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal clock.
Also, you should establish a bedtime ritual. By discovering a routine activity to prepare yourself for restful sleep, you can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
It helps, for example, to dim the lighting and make your rest area as comfortable as possible. Perhaps you may read a book that will exercise your mental muscles and make it easier for you to enter the land of nod. Whatever you do to promote restful sleep, remember to be patient. It may take some work in the beginning, but the work you put into sleeping better will pay off for years.