10 Tips for A Better Night’s Sleep
Many sufferers of chronic conditions, including tinnitus, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome have trouble sleeping at night. The ringing in your ears may be louder at night, when there’s no background noise to help drown out the tinnitus. Fibromyalgia sufferers often deal with insomnia and chronic fatigue as part of their every-day symptoms. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can cause pain, making sleep difficult.
The reality is that a lack of sleep may make these conditions worse. We hear many of our customers struggling with this very issue. The condition is not allowing them to sleep, but the condition is therefore made worse by lack of sleep! It’s incredibly difficult and frustrating, and that’s why we always recommend getting a proper night’s sleep. There’s the standard recommendation of eight hours per night, but others may only need six to feel rested. Of course, five or six hours of quality sleep is better than tossing and turning for eight hours, counting the minutes until the next morning.
Here are 10 tips to help you achieve that quality sleep night-in and night-out, and get you on the path to feeling better.
1. Manage your diet properly.
Going to bed too hungry or too full can make sleep difficult. Try eating a balanced meal, including plenty of vegetables, a few hours before retiring for the night. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as alcohol and caffeine can inhibit sleep.
2. Exercise daily.
Besides other numerous benefits, routine exercise can also promote a healthy sleep. If you can help it, avoid exercising before bed time, as that can keep you awake instead. For many people, exercising in the morning seems to work best for their schedules. Whenever you choose to exercise, it’s important to stick with it: regular exercise is better than none at all.
3. Form a bed time ritual.
Ritual and muscle memory are extremely important to better sleep. Perform a routine every day before heading to bed. As an example, perhaps you clean the dishes from dinner, watch your favorite show for a half hour, then brush your teeth, and go to bed. This routine is important because…
4. Form and maintain a sleep schedule.
Our bodies have natural clocks, known as Circadian rhythms, which is why jet lag occurs. These natural clocks are fairly easily adjusted however, and it may only take a few days for your Circadian rhythm to form a nice pattern. To achieve this, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Unfortunately, this includes weekends, too. You’ll have a bit of lee-way, but a consisten bedtime (within a half-hour, every day) will do wonders for you. Pretty soon, you won’t even need an alarm clock!
5. Manage stress.
It can be close to impossible to sleep if you’re stressed. Whether it’s a big project at work, family matters, or your health, there are many stressors that can affect our quality of sleep. Try a few techniques to manage your stress to sleep better – try journaling, meditation, or other techniques.
6. Allow yourself to go to sleep.
Meditation may help immensely as part of your nightly routine, as it enforces relaxation and breathing. Stress management is important here – allow yourself to relax, and go to sleep. You can tackle that work project tomorrow; it’s not going anywhere. If you’re the type to rack your brain before heading to bed, try keeping a small notebook and pen on a side table. If you think of something you don’t want to forget, write it down. Then, once it’s written down, let it go. Get some sleep.
7. Get comfortable!
We spend roughly one-third of our lives sleeping. With all that time spent, it’s important to invest in quality products. Find an outfit that you can wear comfortably. Purchase a mattress that is just the right amount of firmness or softness for you. Do the same with pillows. Outfit that mattress with comfortable (and stylish, if you wish) pillowcases and sheets, and the perfect environment has been made. Depending on the source, research tells us that the perfect temperature for sleep is between 65 and 68 degrees. Try and keep your bedroom in that range for optimal sleep.
8. Block out stimuli
Turn off all of the lights in your room when you sleep, and that includes your television. Your bed should be used for sleep only. If you work from home, perhaps you have paperwork spread across the sheets. If you’re relaxing on a rainy day, perhaps you have the television on. Using your bed for other activities confuses your body. By using your bed only for sleep, your body will associate the act of lying in bed with sleeping, and you’ll fall asleep faster and have a more restful sleep.
9. Nap sparingly throughout the day
If you’ve struggled the night before with getting to bed, naps are perfectly fine. Sometimes, even the best sleepers need a 2PM cat-nap. It’s important, however, to try to limit napping as much as possible. Too much napping can lead to Circadian rhythm confusion, and can mean that you’re not tired when it’s time for you to go to bed. (You are following a routine, right?)
10. Change venue if you can’t sleep.
Lastly, if you’re trying to get to bed, and cannot fall asleep after 30 minutes or so, get up. Perhaps you’re not as tired as you thought, and attempting to force sleep won’t accomplish anything. Get out of bed, grab a glass of water, and do something else. Reading a good book helps many to relax and get back into “sleep mode”. Try to sleep again after 30 minutes, and hopefully the second time around will provide better results.