A. How to fall asleep faster and sleep better
We all have nights where we have trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night. Good quality sleep has a huge impact on how we feel mentally and physically, so getting enough sleep is important. The advice you’ll find here is a great way to start thinking about your sleep and what might be preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. We also have some simple steps you can take to make a change.
1. Get into a daily routine
All of the changes we’ve gone through may have made it difficult to maintain a consistent routine, but a regular sleep pattern is very important for a good night’s sleep. Being able to wake up, relax, and go to bed at the same time every day really helps. Also, avoid napping if possible. Remember, your sleep routine begins before you go to bed. So make time every night to relax — and try turning off your technology. Things like reading, gentle stretching, or meditating are great ways to unwind, and keeping your device chargers out of your bedroom can help avoid distracted scrolling.
2. Manage your worries
Many of us have had additional worries or fears because of COVID-19, and those feelings can affect how easily you fall asleep and how well you sleep. There are things you can do in everyday life to manage your worries, like talk to someone you trust and disconnect from the news. If you often stay up and worrying, taking the time before bed to create a to-do list for the next day can be a great way to calm your mind. Using techniques like reframing unhelpful thoughts can also be helpful.
3. Prepare your body for sleep
- Our physical health and the way we take care of our bodies can have a major impact on our sleep. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior that can make your sleep worse, especially at times like these.
- Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, or a large meal too close to bedtime can prevent you from falling asleep and preventing you from falling asleep. Try avoiding them before bed and see if things improve.
- Regular exercise is also good for sleep. Just remember to avoid anything too vigorous before bed if you find it disrupting your sleep and be sure to follow social distancing guidelines when exercising.
4. Create a peaceful environment
Simple things can have a big impact on falling asleep and staying asleep. Usually, you sleep better when it’s cool, dark and quiet – but the right sleeping environment is individual, so try different things and see what works for you. Wearing earplugs, using your phone face down (or leaving the room altogether) silently, keeping watches out of sight, and making sure the room is well ventilated can make a world of difference. Some people also find it helpful to play ambient sounds like rain, soft music, or white noise.
5. Confront insomnia
If you’re awake and can’t sleep, don’t try to force it. Of course, when you are tired and enjoying the feeling of calm, sleep can take over. But if not, get up and do something relaxing, like read a book or listen to soft music, and go back to bed when you feel more sleepy.
B. Dos and don’ts for a good night’s sleep
When high or ongoing stress is present, sleep is often one of the first areas of your life to be affected. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, trouble sleeping is the second most common symptom that a person is suffering from mental distress. People tend to notice heightened anxiety during times of rest or inactivity — such as bedtime — when we can no longer distract ourselves from thoughts and feelings of stress and worry. This leads to problems falling asleep, staying asleep, insomnia, interrupted sleep, or shallow, restless sleep due to racing thoughts. Lack of sleep leads to more anxiety and a variety of other health problems. Good sleep hygiene can help you stay healthy by keeping your mind and body rested and strong.
1. Here are seven things you should do to improve your sleep hygiene
- Keep a regular schedule. Wake up at the same time every morning and get regular sleep. Also do this on weekends and holidays. A regular wake-up time in the morning leads to regular falling asleep times and helps to set your “internal clock”. Regular times for meals, medication, chores, and other activities help keep the body’s internal clock running smoothly.
- Only sleep as much as you need to feel refreshed the next day. Limiting time in bed helps deepen sleep. Lying for too long leads to fragmented and shallow sleep. Get up at your usual time the next day, no matter how little sleep you have.
- Practice using the bedroom only for sleeping. Your bedroom should be where you sleep. This will help your brain see the bed as a place to sleep. Not a place to go when bored. Don’t read, write, eat, watch TV, use the phone, or play cards in bed. If you don’t sleep after 20 minutes, get up. Find something else to help you relax. If possible, do this in a different room. If you’re tired again, go back to bed.
- Start each night before bed with rituals that will help you relax. It’s easier to fall asleep at night if you have “rituals” before bed. These are things you do every night before you go to bed. This can include things like a warm bath, a light snack, or a few minutes of reading. There are also a variety of sleep/soothing apps and podcasts that you can use to put your mind to sleep.
- Make sure your room is comfortable. Make your room quiet, dark and a little cool. Make sure it’s free from light and noise. An easy way to remember this: your bedroom should resemble a cave. While that doesn’t sound romantic, it seems to work for bats. Bats are master dormitors. They sleep about 16 hours a day.
- Put the clock under the bed or turn it so you can’t see it. Checking the clock can lead to frustration, anger, and worry that interfere with sleep.
- Set the electronics aside. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, and TV screens all emit blue rays that stimulate your waking cycle and trick your brain into believing it’s daylight.
2. Here are seven things not to do that can disrupt your sleep
- Avoid taking naps. Staying awake during the day will help you fall asleep at night. If you must take a nap, make it short (less than an hour). Never nap after 3 p.m.
- Avoid caffeine after lunch. Caffeinated drinks and foods can make it harder to fall asleep, wake you up at night, and cause shallow sleep. Even caffeine earlier in the day can disrupt nighttime sleep. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid any type of liquid at night.
- Don’t go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a large meal too close to bedtime either. Eat regular meals throughout the day. A light snack before bed (especially carbs) can help you sleep, but avoid greasy or “heavy” foods.
- Don’t go to bed unless you’re tired. If you’re not tired by bedtime, leave the room and do something else. Read a book, listen to soft music or leaf through a magazine. Find something relaxing to take your mind off sleep worries. Avoid anything too stimulating (especially cell phones, laptops, and TV screens). This helps relax your body and distract your mind. Don’t go back to bed until you’re tired.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and pills. Don’t drink beer, a glass of wine, or any other alcoholic beverage within six hours of bedtime. Do not smoke a cigarette or other sources of nicotine before bed. Smoking can disrupt sleep because nicotine is a stimulant. Avoid sleeping pills or use them with caution. Most doctors will not prescribe sleeping pills for longer than three weeks. Remember not to drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills.
- Avoid intense exercise before bedtime. While exercise may make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep, plan times so that you don’t exercise within 3 to 6 hours of your planned bedtime.
- Don’t take your problems to bed with you. Plan some time in the early evening to work on your topics or to plan the activities for the next day. Worrying can interfere with falling asleep and lead to shallow sleep. Your bed is a place of rest, not a place of worry.
C. Top reasons why you’re not sleeping through the night
The world looks sunny after a good night’s sleep. But it’s a different story when sleep is frequently disrupted. The absence of Zs makes thinking difficult and makes it easier to become irritable and anxious. In the long term, insufficient sleep increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and even premature death. Therefore, it is important to find out what is disturbing your sleep.
1. It could be your lifestyle
One of the most common causes of insomnia is lifestyle, including any of the following habits:
- Drink alcohol within four hours of bedtime. A drink can help you fall asleep, but it can also disrupt sleep later in the night, and it can also make you go to the bathroom more.
- Eat a few hours before bedtime. Going to bed on a full stomach can cause heartburn, which makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Naps too much. Long naps in the afternoon or later in the day make it difficult to sleep at night.
- Consume too much caffeine. Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, and soft drinks) blocks a brain chemical called adenosine, which helps you sleep. Avoid caffeinated foods and drinks beyond the early afternoon.
2. It could be your medicine
Some medications can cause nighttime wakefulness. include examples
- Some antidepressants
- Beta blockers used to treat high blood pressure
- Cold medicine with alcohol
- Corticosteroids used to treat inflammation or asthma
3. It could be an underlying condition
Many chronic diseases can get in the way of deep sleep. These are some of the most common in old age:
- Anxiety or depression. Worries or depressive moods can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). The urge to empty the bladder wakes men with BPH during the night.
- Chronic pain. It’s hard to sleep when you’re hurt. “And it’s a one-way street. Sleep deprivation makes the pain worse the next day.
- Neuropathy. Tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands and feet can cause you to wake up frequently.
- Sleep apnea. Loud snoring and waking up briefly at night can be signs of sleep apnea, which leads to short breathing pauses at night and daytime sleepiness.
D. 8 secrets to a good night’s sleep
After tossing and turning all night, you wake up feeling like a couple of the seven dwarfs: sleepy… and grumpy. Restless nights and tiring mornings can become more common with age and changing sleeping habits. In women, it usually starts around the time of menopause when hot flashes and other symptoms wake them up. Later in life, the number of sleep hours tends to decrease. There are also some changes in the way the body regulates circadian rhythms. This internal clock helps your body respond to changes in light and darkness. As you experience a change as you age, it can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
Taking a brisk walk every day will not only slow you down, but also keep you up less often at night. Exercise increases the effects of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin. A study in the journal Sleep found that postmenopausal women who exercise about three and a half hours a week fall asleep more easily than women who exercise less. Just pay attention to the time of your training. Exercising too close to bedtime can be stimulating. Morning exercise exposed to daylight helps your natural circadian rhythm.
2. Reserve the bed for sleeping and for sex
Don’t use your bed as an office to take calls and answer emails. Also, avoid watching TV there late at night. The bed must be an incentive to sleep, not wake up. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex.
3. Keep it comfortable
The TV isn’t the only possible distraction in your bedroom. The environment can also affect sleep quality. Make sure your bedroom is as comfortable as possible. Ideally, you want a quiet, dark, and cool environment. All of these things help you fall asleep.
4. Start a sleep ritual
When you were a kid and your mom read you a story and tucked you into bed every night, this comforting ritual helped lull you to sleep. Even in adulthood, a variety of sleep rituals can have a similar effect. Rituals help signal the body and mind that it’s time to sleep. Drink a glass of warm milk. To take a bath. Or listen to relaxing music to unwind before bed.
5. Eat – but not too much
A growling stomach can be distracting enough to keep you awake, but so can an overly full stomach. Avoid eating a large meal within two to three hours of bedtime. If you’re feeling hungry before bed, eat a healthy little snack (like an apple with a slice of cheese or some whole wheat crackers) to keep you full until breakfast.
6. Avoid alcohol and caffeine
When you have a bedtime snack, wine and chocolate shouldn’t be one of them. Chocolate contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. Surprisingly, alcohol has a similar effect. It’s a little drowsy, but it’s actually a stimulant and interferes with staying asleep. Also, stay away from acidic (like citrus fruits and juices) or spicy foods, which can cause heartburn.
7. Relieve stress
The bills are piling up and your to-do list is miles long. During the day, worries can surface at night. Stress is a stimulus. Activates the fight or flight hormones that counteract sleep. Give yourself time to relax before bed. Learning a form of the relaxation response can promote a good night’s sleep and also reduce daytime anxiety. Try deep breathing exercises to relax. Breathe in slowly and deeply, and then breathe out.
8. Get verified
A urge to move your legs, snoring, and burning pain in your stomach, chest, or throat are symptoms of three common sleep disorders—restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. If these symptoms keep you up at night or make you drowsy during the day, see your doctor for an evaluation.