How To Get A Good Night`s Sleep
Most of us have experienced the occasional sleepless night. But when one restless night turns into a consistent pattern of poor sleep, resulting in tiredness, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability, it`s called insomnia. Some factors include age-related and health changes, depression, alcohol use, caffeine, irregular sleep cycles, or environmental changes.
While most cases of short-term insomnia do not require the evaluation of a physician, it goes without saying that if you suffer from chronic sleep loss, you should talk to your doctor about it. For short-term or intermittent cases here are some tips:
· Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning: For poor sleepers, the most important thing you can do is remain consistent throughout the week. Your sleep works in patterns-if you are patterned to go to sleep at eleven and you go to bed at nine to make up for a poor night`s sleep, the likelihood is you`re going to have insomnia because your body doesn`t know it`s supposed to go to sleep at that hour. The same goes for your wake time. Whatever time you have to get up for work, that`s when you also must get up on holidays and weekends."
· Know how much sleep you really need: Sleep needs vary greatly from person to person. If you`re not bothered by feeling drowsy during the day, whatever amount of sleep you had last night was good. Just keep in mind that everyone gets a little tired in the afternoon, because we have a natural dip that has nothing to do with how much sleep we had the night before or the fact that we just ate lunch.
· Get outside during the daylight: One of the most important cues for the onset of sleep is the sun, whose light directly triggers sleep-related biological changes. If you`re like me and you work in an office where there is little natural light, your body can miss the cue that brightness is for waking and dark is for sleep. Getting out into the sunlight for about 20 minutes can give your biological clock a target.
· Avoid looking at the clock: Everyone wakes up four or five times during the night whether they remember it or not. But she explains, for someone with insomnia, looking at the clock during an arousal is a trigger to become fully awake. You can make a difference by not looking at the clock. Just tell yourself `forget it,` roll over, and go back to sleep.
· Schedule time for worrying before you go to sleep: If you lay awake fretting about things, keep a "worry book," a daily journal where you write down the thoughts that keep you up-preferably long before you go to bed. Then when those thoughts start you have to say to yourself, `I`m not going there, I`m not forgetting anything, and I can`t improve upon it today.` In about a week, that kind of systematic talking to yourself works."
· Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Some people are exquisitely sensitive to caffeine . Sometimes it`s just one silly thing like a cup of tea that kicks them over the edge. And although alcohol may initially make you feel a little sleepy, Walsleben says it can wake you up throughout the night and disrupt your sleep.
· Keep naps short: While for some of us, a nap is the only way to catch some extra sleep, Walsleben advises you limit it to under 20 minutes or you may disrupt your sleep cycle. A longer nap gets you into a nighttime pattern. Plus you`ll wake up feeling very groggy and it will take time for you to come around.