Better Sleep: Beyond the Basics
Last week's post reminded us of the vital role proper sleep has in losing weight. No one is perfect; late-night movies and munchies can cause occasional problems and sometimes life events interrupt our ability to get a full night of rest. What can we do, though, when getting to sleep is a recurring issue?
There are many options to make sure that it is easier to get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer that don't involve a prescription or a visit to your doctor. Many of the same tips get recycled again and again, though, and can leave you feeling like your options are as exhausted as the rest of you on a bad morning. These are some of the techniques that go beyond the basics or are less often shared. If you're already sticking to a routine, keeping your bedroom to 68 degrees, and cutting out caffeine and alcohol with no results, give these ideas a try.
1) Exercise daily. The National Sleep Foundation says, “Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.”
2) If you have a clock in your bedroom, cover it or turn it so you can't see it at night. “Watching the clock” can stimulate your mind enough to keep you from dozing.
3) Even mild pain can disrupt sleep. If you're regularly waking with low back pain, try sleeping with a pillow between your knees (for side sleepers) or under them (for back sleepers) to keep your hips better aligned at night and prevent the pain from starting.
4) Allergies can be disruptive to sleep, even if you're not sneezing due to pollen outside. If you have an older mattress, dust mites and built-up dust particles can be causing irritation every time you lie down. Try an airtight dust cover for the mattress and box spring to block this problem and keep your breathing easier at night.
5) Phones cause distractions and stress, and disrupt our ability to doze with bright lights and noises. Just having a smartphone by the bed can make it hard for some people to ever really “unplug.” If this might be your problem, get a simple alarm clock to get you up in the morning and resolve to charge your phone in another room. Bonus: This also helps get rid of distractions in the morning, so you can get going faster.
6) Keep a worry journal; just don't keep it in the bedroom. The Better Sleep Council recommends that you write down what's bothering you or stressing you out as a way of “flushing” it out of your mind for the day. Doing this allows you to acknowledge the stressor is there, but to mindfully choose to put it out of your way in favor of getting rest that evening. It can help you to gain perspective and to relax.
We all want the incredible benefits that proper sleep can have for our health and for our goals. The broad impact it can have on all of our systems is amazing. These are just a few of the options that are available if you've tried the basics and still aren't getting the quality sleep you need.
M'lis at Lora's Boutique and Wellness
19 N Centennial St, Wishek, ND 58495