Improve your sleep
The amount of sleep we need varies by person. The number of hours is not as important as the way we feel when we wake up. If we don’t feel rested, we probably need more sleep. Also, feeling tired during the day is another sign that we are not sleeping long enough.
On average we should sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night, although a healthy adult may need between 5 and 9 hours, depending on age. In many cases, following simple procedures and trying new routines can help to achieve the amount of sleep you need. In the event of permanent insomnia, you should consult a doctor.
Establish a routine to promote good sleeping habits.
- Set a time for going to bed and another for waking up. This timing should be followed both during the week and weekend and will help your body to become used to a regular sleep pattern.
- Reduce your activity towards the end of the day. Don’t become involved in conversations where you endeavour to solve problems, and don’t indulge in strenuous activities at night time.
- Exercise during the day, but avoid intense workout at least two hours before going to bed.
- Keep your bedroom dark and silent, with a comfortable temperature.
- Remove distractions such as a watch, telephone, or radio from your bedroom.
- Try using a mask or earplugs at night.
- If your medication includes stimulants such as antihistamines, decongestants, or antiasthmatics, take them as far in advance as possible before going to bed.
- Move to another room to watch television or to eat.
- After getting into bed, make a conscious effort to relax your muscles, maybe imagining that they are relaxing one at a time, or seeing yourself in tranquil, pleasing countryside.
- If you read in bed, do so with light reading material.
- If you are still awake 15 or 20 minutes after the light has been turned off, read with a dim light, or try out some monotonous task until you feel sleepy. Avoid lying in bed thinking about the dream or television that you are missing.
If you continue to have sleeping problems for several nights, check all the medication you are taking (with or without prescription) with your doctor or chemist, to determine if that could be the cause of your sleeping problems.
Avoid activities that might prevent you from having a good night’s sleep
- Don’t take caffeine after 3p.m. This includes coffee, tea, chocolate refreshments, and chocolate.
- Don’t sleep during the day, especially not in the afternoon or evening.
- Avoid alcohol. This might make you fall asleep, but it would probably wake you up during the night.
- Avoid using the computer for at least two hours before going to bed.
- Constant use of sleeping pills will eventually increase your insomnia.
- Avoid using blue lamps or natural light at night, as these could act as stimulants
Where to find help
As we have seen, there are several ways to reset sleeping patterns and teach the body and mind to relax, but if your sleeping pattern worsens and lasts more than four weeks, or if the symptoms become more serious or frequent, you should consult your doctor.
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