Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Sleep Hygiene to improve the Quality and Quantity of a Night’s Sleep

Sleep problems are common these days and are often worse in summer.  Whilst there can be many problems that lead to poor quality and lack of sleep, maintaining good sleep hygiene can help to alleviate some of the problems.  If pain is keeping you awake, make sure you address the problem so that you are not constantly woken up because of pain.  If frequent urination at night is a problem, investigate the possibility of benign prostate hyperplasia or chronic nocturia which should be treated.

Here are 10 tips to help you sleep better:
  1. Keep a journal of the things that need to be done the next day.  You can keep the journal beside your bed so that tasks can be dumped into the journal and you will revisit them in the morning.
  2. Do not have constant exposure to computer screens 2 hours prior to bedtime.
  3. Exercise earlier in the day, especially vigorous aerobic type exercise.  As strenuous exercise can produce lactic acid in the muscles, this can affect your sleep quality.  Gentle exercise that helps increase endorphins are helpful in aiding sleep, but should be done at least 3 hours before bed.
  4. Avoid caffeine (tea, coffee and any caffeinated beverages) after 2 p.m.
  5. Do not drink massive amount of water later in the day.  Sip your water after dinner and make yourself a chamomile tea to calm down.
  6. Make sure the temperature in the room and comfortable for sleeping.  Having too many sheets or inadequate sheets can wake you up unnecessarily.
  7. Keep the bed to relaxation, sleep and sex.  The bed should not be associated with work and stress.
  8. Obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnoea which is a common reason overweight people do not sleep well.  Reduce your weight.
  9. Actively work on reducing stress or your perception of stress in your life.  Being a perfectionist often does not help with stress management, be a realist!
  10. Have an aromatherapy bath before bed.  Drop some lavender and ylang ylang essential oil into your bath and relax!
If you constantly have sleep problems, it could be a sign of more serious medical condition and needs to be checked out by your health care professional.

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