Sleep experts say we should get an average of eight hours of restful sleep every night. Yet how many of us actually do? For some of us, we don’t get enough sleep simply because we don’t make enough time for it. But for others, a lack of sleep is due to the inability to get comfortable and relax.
Before we start relying on medications to help us sleep there are some other things we should try. Remember that sleep medications can cause dependency, which is never a good thing. Below are four tips that may help solve any sleep issues you might have.
1. Sleeping on the Right Bed
You probably know by now that not all beds are created equal. But what you may not know is that not all beds are equally comfortable for all types of sleepers. Therefore, it’s incumbent to take the time to look at all of your options when you’re shopping for a new bed or a replacement mattress. This might involve several weekends of going to bedding and furniture stores and laying on dozens of different models. But it’s well worth the time and effort. Once you find the right bed for you it will change the way you sleep.
The most common type of bed is the inner-spring mattress and box spring combination. While these types of beds have been the market leader for generations they are often uncomfortable for people with back pain, arthritis, and other health problems. For them, a better choice is a foam mattress or an adjustable air mattress. Both of these types of beds are relatively new to the market (within the last 20 to 30 years) but both offer benefits you can’t get with an inner-spring mattress.
It’s not possible to say that one specific type of mattress is right for everyone. If you have trouble deciding after several weeks of shopping, you might want to consult your doctor and get his advice. He may know why you’re suffering from sleep issues and he might be able to recommend a possible solution.
2. Preparing Your Bedroom
Your bedroom should be a place of relaxation, solace, and rest. Therefore, decorate in a way that is soothing and relaxing. For example, experts claim that for most people the colour red is a stimulant. Painting your bedroom walls bright red and accessorizing with red and white combinations may be just visually stimulating enough to interruption sleep. Try more soothing colours like soft grey, peach, mother of pearl, etc.
If the television is too much of a distraction for you, you might want to remove it from your bedroom as well. It doesn’t do any good to promise yourself you’ll be in bed by 11 o’clock only to stay up until one o’clock watching television. The same can be said for music players, computer game consoles, and anything else that would keep you from sleep.
If outside noise interrupts your sleep you might try getting a white noise machine. A white noise machine plays something that’s calming and soothing in the background, such as a waterfall or chirping birds, allowing you to fall asleep while masking the sounds from outdoors. A white noise machine has been a godsend for many people who have trouble sleeping.
3. Prepare Yourself for Sleep
Experts say that moderate exercise actually increases our energy for the first hour or so afterwards. As a general rule you probably should do your daily exercise in the morning rather that night just before you go to bed. If you must do your workout routine in the evening, make sure it’s completed at least two hours before bedtime. Furthermore, some people benefit from a cup of tea, a glass of warm milk, or a glass of wine before bedtime. Whatever you do, don’t eat large amounts of food just before turning in.
4. Be Consistent
One of the best things you can do to ensure restful sleep is to be as consistent as possible about your bedtime and your wake-up time. The human body much works on a cyclical inner-clock; the more you can stay on that schedule the easier it is for your body to sleep when it’s supposed to and remain awake and alert at other times.
If you work a rotating shift you’ll probably have a difficult time maintaining a consistent schedule. For the rest of us however, a consistent schedule should be a real possibility. Sweet dreams!