How do I establish a routine that promotes sleep?
A bedtime routine is part of sleep hygiene and helps you to prepare psychologically and physically for sleep. A routine is a way of ordering simple daily tasks and behavioral pattern into a meaningful sequence. If you have great difficulty in establishing a routine, a health professional may try a number of different treatment including stimulus control, sleep restriction and cognitive behavioral therapy.
What are the best ways to relax before going to bed?
Relaxation is an important part of preparing for sleep, but there is no best way and you must choose what is suiting you. There are many forms of relaxation therapy and most are easy for you to do yourself. Progressive muscle relaxation is one useful technique, where you tense and then relax different muscle groups. Antigen training also decreases bodily arousal. This involves mental exercises that switch off stress responses and help relax the body’s muscle. Some people find listening to soothing music or relaxation tapes helpful. No single relaxation technique has been shown to be more efficacious than other.
How can I stop my mind racing when I’m trying to go to sleep?
People who are plagued by a continuous stream of thoughts near bedtime can try methods which decrease cognitive arousal, such as imagery training or meditation. Sometimes writing all your worries for the day on a piece of paper and leaving it in a room other than your bedroom can help.
Is it all right to nap during the day?
First, ask yourself why you need to have a nap during the day. Are you excessively sleepy, despite spending enough time in bed? Do you have disrupted sleep at night? How often do you nap (after Sunday lunch, once a week, or regularly during the week and at different times?) If you do have to have a nap, don’t sleep for longer than an hour, as this will affect your level of sleepiness in the evening, and don’t nap after 3pm in the afternoon. If you are napping because you find it really hard to keep awake, including at work or while driving, you must discuss this with your doctor.
Does regular physical exercise promote a good night sleep?
In additional to other health benefits that regular exercise brings to the body, it can also help to improve sleep. Physical exercise tires us out and results in the release of chemical and hormones in the body that produce sleep of a better quantity, including the proportion of slow wave sleep that we experience. Exercising in the late afternoon may help you to sleep better. However, vigorous exercise within 3-4 hours of bedtime can interfere with your sleep.
Will a bath before bedtime help me to sleep better?
Besides environment temperature, variations in our body temperature also play an important role in determining the quality of sleep we have during the night. Our body temperature falls naturally as part of the circadian rhythm toward the end of the day as we prepare to sleep. Having a long soak in a hot tub or a bath in hot water, at least an hour before going to bed, can help raise the core body temperature and then let it drop more quickly, decreasing the transition time to sleep. Water can also have a relaxing effect on us, which also enhance sleepiness.
How close bedtime can I eat?
Regular and scheduled meals throughout the day are important to sustain our energy and provide us with the nutrition our body needs. However, it is best not to go bed with a full stomach. This disrupts sleep because the body has to work overtime to metabolize the food. A full stomach can also exacerbate heartburn. Conversely, going to bed hungry can also disrupt sleep. Eat your last heavy meal of the day at least 2 hours before going to bed, and if you feel hungry just before retiring, have a light snack.
How does drinking water before bedtime affect my sleep?
Many people experience disturbed sleep due to frequent nocturnal urination (nocturia). To minimize this, it is best to restrict your fluid intake after your last heavy meal of the day, and you should try not to drink water about an hour before you go to bed. If nocturia persists you must seek medical advice.