Since 1978, I have been coaching my clients on improving their sleep. I am L. John Mason, Ph.D. and founder to the Stress Education Center. In this blog, I would to offer the best tips for getting the sleep you require and deserve.
Add any or all of these tips to your life until you find the ones that work for you.
1. Create your own bedtime ritual for preparing for sleep. Use a regular bedtime and allow as much time for sleep as you require (and we are all a bit different in this requirement.) Some clients will take a warm bath or shower to relax before heading for bed. Other people may read calming books or articles that do not stimulate too much thinking. TV news is NOT ideal before sleep for most people.
2. Avoid stimulants like caffeine. Many people find that even one cup of coffee in the morning can affect their sleep at night. Be aware of how much caffeine you use and when you consume it.
3. Limit your bed activities to sleep and sex, so you do not get into the habit of being awake in bed. (Even though TV, reading, work, and telephone calls are possible activities, these may not help your bedtime sleeping.)
4. Avoid eating big meals or drinking alcohol late in your day for these can reduce your ability to get quality sleep.
5. Create a calm, safe, dark, warm (enough,) quiet space to sleep. Avoid unnecessary stimulation.
6. If your mind is racing and filled with clutter, consider making a list or using a journal so you do need to keep all this information in your head.
7. Eat a healthy diet. (Remember to not eat too late and avoid caffeine and stimulants.)
8. Get regular exercise but not too close to bedtime.
9. Avoid using sleeping pills regularly.
10.Avoid naps, if you are having difficulty sleeping at bedtime. (Though meditations have be helpful and can take the place of some need for sleep.)
11.Consider using relaxation techniques especially ones that will aid in muscular relaxation and in slow down your mind. More in the next blog but using simple breathing techniques can be great at bedtime.
Two other online articles and resources can be found at:
7 tips for sleep from the Mayo clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleep/HQ01387 7 is stress reduction
12 tips for sleep from Harvard medical center http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips no stress
Please take good care of yourself and get enough good quality sleep.