13 Suggestions for a Good Sleep…
and 13 Backups
- Sleep in complete darkness. Even a very little amount of light can disrupt sleep by affecting the capacity of melatonin secretion of the pineal gland. This includes light that reaches any part of the body, as it does not have to reach the eyes in order to affect sleep. Avoid continuous nightlights and rely on motion-controlled lights if you get up occasionally at night to use the restroom. Your bedroom window dressings should include blackout drapes. Avoid prolonged artificial light at night. Our ancestors were in tune with natural daylight and followed the rhythms of nature. Artificial light, especially neon or fluorescent, disrupts the body and predisposes us to illness.
- Keep no electronics in your bedroom, even if they are turned off. You should especially avoid placing a television set in your bedroom, and clocks and other devices should also be eliminated from your resting space. The best suggestion is an LED clock that only illuminates when pressed and remains lit for a few seconds, and all ticking clocks should be avoided.
- Use bedroom only for sleeping. Do not watch television or read for any prolonged period of time in bed or before bed.
- Use melatonin or other natural, herbal sleep aids. Take 1mg of melatonin for every decade you have lived. For instance, if you are fifty-five, take at least 6mg; if you are seventy-two, take at least 8mg.
- What you eat and how much you eat is important and will affect your sleep. Have your last meal of the day several hours before bedtime. A light, mostly vegetarian dinner is best; in fact, those who suffer from night sweats should avoid all meat and animal products after lunch. It is also important to avoid snacking before bed.
- Go to bed early. Studies show that early sleep, between ten p.m. and one a.m., is the most refreshing and healthy.
- Go to sleep and wake up on a schedule, about the same time every day. Develop a pattern or rhythm that is natural for you and easy to keep.
- Have a bedtime routine. Enjoy something pleasant to cool off from the stress of the day. The time before you go to sleep is a powerful time for affirmations, visualizing goals, practicing gratitude, or saying prayers.
- Put your work or intense tasks to rest at least two hours prior to bedtime. This will give your mind time to unwind so you will be better prepared for restful sleep that will not be interrupted by the pressures of work and the stresses of life. Avoid information overload.
- Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature. Ideally, you should maintain 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body heat naturally reduces while you sleep, and higher temperatures or stale, stagnant air can disrupt sleep. Refresh your room before sleep by opening the windows for a bit. Some studies also show that keeping the feet warm by wearing socks helps to improve sleep.
- Avoid over-stimulation of the mind before bed. It is best to avoid any entertainment or educational programs that cause your mind to think too much. Avoid action or horror movies and especially the evening news, as these can be detrimental. Before bedtime, your mind is like a sponge. It absorbs ideas that will be subconsciously implanted, and these will not only have a great influence on your sleep but also on your overall mental health. Thus, be careful what you expose your eyes and thoughts to before you go to sleep.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine. Sensitive people and those with sleeping problems should avoid caffeine during the day. In these individuals, even one cup of coffee at any hour can disrupt sleep during the night.
- Exercise is important. Incorporate a daily exercise routine into your schedule. This is healthy overall, and it will help you sleep better at night, but don’t exercise right before sleep.
If the above do not help improve your sleep, you can also try these:
- Check with your doctor. Illness and medications can adversely affect sleep.
- Sleep with your head at the north.
- Be sure your bedroom door is in your field of vision and not behind your bed.
- Check your bedroom for electromagnetic fields. Home EMF meters are widely commercially available.
- Consider separate bedrooms if your spouse is too restless or snores.
- Do not drink too much fluid or any alcohol a few hours before bedtime. This will minimize bathroom interruptions at night.
- Snacks before bed are not recommended; however, you can try some honey or a tryptophan-rich snack if necessary.
- A hot bath, shower, or sauna may help you relax before you lie down.
- If complete darkness is not possible, use a sleep mask/blindfold to block out light. Consider earplugs if you have to sleep in a noisy environment.
- While reading stimulating works such as mystery and suspense novels will have the opposite effect, reading something spiritual or uplifting may help set your mind at ease for restful sleep.
- Consider techniques like the emotional freedom technique (EFT), in which gentle tapping can solve many problems. You can learn more about EFT and other helpful techniques on the internet.
- Losing excess weight can have a very positive impact on sleep, as those who are at a better weight will less often be interrupted by cramps, back pain, and achy joints and muscles.
- Check your hormones. If all of the above methods fail to help you achieve restful sleep, seek a competent integrative physician who can provide bioidentical hormone combinations tailored to your individual needs. For instance, insufficient progesterone is known to disrupt sleep. Remember to avoid non-bioidentical hormones.