For this Cloud Nine let’s look at Tips For a Good Night’s Sleep.
I don’t know about you, but I frequently have trouble sleeping. Usually my mind is going a mile a minute or I need a snack or I’m thirsty. It’s always something silly keeping me from getting the sleep my body desperately craves. So I did a little reading and even talked to my doctor to come up with what I hope are some helpful tips.
1. Make Sure You Are Comfy
I know this seems like a no brainer right? But it’s so simple most people don’t give it a second thought until it ends up being an issue. By then you’ve already lost time you could’ve been snoozing. So keep in mind if your bed and pillows are too hard or too soft you may need to consider replacing them. You also need to consider the room’s temperature. You need to find your happy medium between too hot or too cold before you get yourself tucked in otherwise you may find yourself kicking off the covers or scrambling for more blankets in the middle of the night. It’s been suggested that temps above 54 F but below 72 F are ideal but where you may fall within that range is obviously personal preference.
2. Have a Light Snack
I know “they” say not to eat before bed but I’m pretty sure that means not to eat a full meal right before bed. A light snack (the keyword here being light) could be just the thing you need to head to dreamland. The key is to pick the right snack. Foods like hummus, turkey, and walnuts contain tryptophan which is a naturally occurring chemical in many foods known to make people sleepy. Some doctors say combining carbs and proteins is a great way to induce sleep suggesting snacking on half a banana with a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter or a few whole wheat crackers and cheese. Maybe if you add a slice of turkey to those crackers and cheese you’ll get a little tryptophan boost.
3. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
This one is the hardest for me because I LOVE COFFEE! I actually have a gold rewards card from Starbucks so believe me when I tell you that limiting myself to only 2 caffeinated beverages a day is difficult. In fact, this was something I talked to my doctor about so that I could get as much information on how caffeine works as possible. He gave me a lot of info but the most important things he said with regards to caffeine consumption in relation to healthy sleep habits were:
- Caffeine can stay in your system for as long as 12 – 14 hours
- Do not be fooled by decaffeinated coffee. There is still a small amount of caffeine in decaf and it will act just like it always does.
- Because of these points he recommends cutting out any products containing high amounts of caffeine by noon and any product containing small amounts of caffeine like decaf, chocolate and many some types of tea by no later than 2pm. (He also suggests anyone with an active bladder cut out ALL fluids by 6-7pm)
4. Create a Bedtime Ritual or Routine
As a mother, I started this with my son when he was an infant and it did wonders for him. Now, 12 years later, the nightly ritual has changed a bit and become more of his own thing but he still does it. I even have one that I try to follow every night. The most important thing is to set yourself a bedtime and stick to it! Once you decide on that time allow yourself an hour, or 2 if you need it, to do your own little ritual.
My personal ritual includes a snack, a glass of milk or a cup of peppermint tea, a little bit of easy stretches to ease the muscle aches I may have acquired throughout the day (if I really need to I’ll rub a little Biofreeze on the extra sore spots), I make one last trip to the potty (emptying your bladder before you go to bed will help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer) and then I make sure my room is as quiet and dark as possible before I tuck myself in.
But your bedtime ritual should be whatever works best for you and it’s ok to tweak or change it to suit your changing needs. The important thing is to keep in the habit of doing it. When you start these actions you mind remembers the routine and knows that bedtime is coming so it relaxes and makes it easier for you to get to sleep.
Do YOU Have a Bedtime Ritual?
Head to the comments section and let us know how you get a good night’s sleep!
If you’d like to read more on this subject check out some of these links: