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Natural Awakenings Boston

Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Oct 23, 2013 03:12PM ● By Dana Faulkner, Health Coach

Next to eating a clean diet and getting regular exercise, making time to relax and get proper sleep is imperative to good health. Reducing stress and getting a good night’s sleep are non-negotiable; this is how the human body and mind recover from the constant stimuli of daily life.

Here are 10 ways to get a better night’s sleep:

Get adequate exercise – Nothing tires out the body like movement. The human body will crave sleep for recovery.

Start unwinding at least an hour before bedtime – Turn off the television, cell phones and computers at least one hour before bed. These items emit unnatural light that may disrupt circadian rhythm. They also may pose as distractions that could delay bedtime. Try reading, bathing, stretching or meditating to calm the mind and body and prepare for sleep.

Have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time – A consistent sleep cycle helps the body prepare for it.  It is best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – even on weekends.

Treat the bedroom like a sleep chamber, not like a living room – Remove the television, the computer and the cell phone from the bedroom. Get black out curtains for the bedroom windows; all light can disrupt sleep.

Reduce caffeine intake – Drink caffeinated coffee or tea in the morning only. Avoid caffeine after lunchtime.

Make sure to be comfortable – If finding an adequate sleeping position is difficult, consider getting a new mattress. A mattress is one of the most important purchases a person can make, so spend the money wisely and do not skimp.

Turn the digital alarm clock to face away from the bed – This is another source of unnatural light. Other alternatives are the old style analog clocks that have no lights. Do not use a cell phone as an alarm clock because of the threat of constant interruptions.

Keep Fluffy and Sparky out of the bedroom – These little snugglers keep many people awake at night or wake them too early. If that sounds familiar, keep pets out of the bedroom.

Relax the mind – Many people report that their brain loves to run wild when they get in bed. Try using a breathing exercise that is a bit like counting sheep. Focus on your breath and count each breath up to 100. “Sleep meditating” helps keeps thoughts from wandering. 

Manage stress during the day – The single most effective way of getting proper sleep is to learn to diffuse stress during the day. Being amped up on stress hormones at work all day and then expecting to sleep well at night is unrealistic. Diffuse stress before it happens; take a short walk to get away for a few minutes to clear the mind. Or try simple meditations found online at LeonieDawson.com/meditation-for-lazy-people and ZenHabits.net/meditate. These are easy to do at the office and only take a few minutes. The Sounder Sleep System (SounderSleep.com/about.php) has daytime and night-time relaxation techniques that can help set people on the path to better stress management during the day for better sleep at night.

Dana Faulkner is a health and nutrition coach in Waltham, MA. For more information, visit LiveWildHealthCoaching.com.

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