To quote an old Chinese proverb, “Only when one cannot sleep does one know how long night is.” Surveys have shown that between 40 and 60 percent of the general population has trouble sleeping. This is a problem because sleep is critical to good health and functioning. Through sleep, our bodies recharge and renew for the next day. So here are some tips to follow for those of us who are having a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep at night:
1. Exercise Regularly: Exercise in the morning is best, but if you must exercise in the evening, do so at least two or three hours before bedtime.
2. Avoid the use of Caffeine: Limit the intake of coffee, soda, chocolate, and tea. Try to avoid them altogether near bedtime. In fact, some people recommend avoiding caffeine anytime after lunch because it can stay in your system for up to 12 hours after it is consumed.
3. Avoid the use of nicotine and alcohol before bedtime: Although most people who smoke claim that nicotine relaxes them, but in actuality it is putting a stimulant into your system. Therefore, try to avoid it before you want to go to sleep. Alcohol, which most people feel helps them to go to sleep, has been found to wake you up during the night.
4. Room temperature is important: Room temperature is one of the biggest culprits in waking you up at night. Ideally your room should feel slightly cool when you first enter it. You don’t want to wake up shivering in the middle of the night. But slightly cooler is always better than too warm.
5. Dark and quiet is always best: Research has shown that people get the best night’s sleep in dark and quiet rooms. If you live on a busy street or your neighbor’s dog is always barking during the middle of the night, a fan or some other monotonous noisemaker can help drown out those sounds.5.
5. Eat Early: Eat an early dinner. Eating after 6 p.m. may interfere with sleep as your body works to digest food.
6. Keep a Regular Schedule: Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
7. Comfortable Mattress and Pillow: A mattress should provide uniform support from head to toe. If there are gaps in your mattress (such as the waist), you’re not getting the full support that you need. With your pillow, your head and neck should remain level with your mid and lower spine. When lying on your back, your head and neck should remain level with your upper back and spine. Find a pillow that is consistent with your shape and size.