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Getting a better night's sleep

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Ralph Williams

Feeling crabby lately? Feeling simply worn out? Perhaps your solution is better sleep. Think about all the factors that can interfere with a good night's sleep-from pressure at work, family responsibilities, to unexpected challenges. It is no wonder that sleep for some can be elusive. Although you may not be able to control all the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits that encourage better sleep.

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on your weekends and holidays. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night.
  2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Don't go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Both could keep you awake. Things like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol can disrupt your sleep. Protein before bedtime helps you fall asleep and reach a deeper better quality sleep.
  3. Create a bedtime ritual. Do the same thing each night to tell your body it is time to wind down. Some ideas are a warm bath, a relaxing shower, listen to soothing music and dim the lights. Relaxing activities ease the transition to falling asleep.
  4. Get comfortable. Create a room that is ideal for sleeping. Cool, dark, and quiet are usually your best bet! Consider room darkening shades and a fan. Comfortable pillows and a great mattress are key to getting a good night sleep. Try to limit children and pets sleeping with you.
  5. Limit daytime naps. Naps can interfere with nighttime sleep especially if you struggle with insomnia or poor sleep quality. If you have to nap, limit yourself to 10 minutes mid afternoon.
  6. Work out. There is a correlation between exercise and good sleep. Exercise early in the day so you can fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep.
  7. Manage stress. When your mind racing because you have too much to do or think about, your sleep will suffer. Find healthy ways to manage your stress and restore peace in your day. Get organized, set priorities, delegate tasks, and keep a list. Enjoy time with friends and family to relax.

Of course, it is common for people to have an occasional sleepless night, but is the problem persists, contact your physician. There may be an underlying reason you are not able to find better quality sleep.

Ralph Williams, DPh, CDE, Hendersonville Health Mart Pharmacy, 247 W. Main St. Suite H, 615-824-2179; www.hendersonvillehealthmart.com

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