5 Easy Self-Help Sleeping Strategies

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Here’s another set of self-help sleeping strategies. The first five-set can be found on this link.

But before we proceed , let us take a look at the ugly truth of sleeping pills and why there is a need to stop any chemical supplements just as you could sleep.

pills_avoid reliance on sleeping aids

Ending the Reliance on Sleeping Aids

There are many sleeping aids accessible in the market probably because people tend to have so much trouble sleeping.

A lack of sleep has a variety of reasons that could be work-related stress and insomnia.

There are other reasons, as some people have speculated; anything and everything can be interpreted as a cause for lack of sleep.

Of course, the occurrence of this problem is fueling the steady market for sleeping aids.

However, with a market that is near the saturation point, just what are the chances that the sleeping aids being sold are actually safe to use?

A lack of sleep can be the problem itself, or the symptom of a larger, more expensive problem.

Insomnia is just as likely to be an outcrop of depression as it is a symptom of other, more dangerous mood and behavioral disorders.

Ideally, people who have trouble sleeping should see a medical professional to be properly assessed.

The need to know if their problem is really just a lack of sleep or if there’s something else beneath the surface.

The availability and popular consumption of various medications have produced what others call the “pill culture.”

People are becoming increasingly willing to turn to a convenient pill to solve an obvious problem without seeing a professional to check if there are other problems.

Everything from pain medication, muscle relaxants, and sleeping aids can end up as part of this problem.

Recently, a new perspective on sleep disorders was put forth by a team of researchers led by Dr. Jesse Milby from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Milby considers sleeping problems as a lack of “sleep hygiene.” According to a research project he and his colleagues from UAB conducted, there are several things people routinely do that contribute to the development of the sleeping problem.

His data showed that using the bed for nothing more than sleep and sexual activity helped improve people’s sleep cycles and reduced the severity of their insomnia, even without medication.

That means no reading, no “hard” conversations, no doing taxes, or any other activities people might be inclined to do in bed.

The problem, he noted, was that the process often took longer than the average person was comfortable with.

With more and more people turning to medication to get a quick fix for their sleep problems, Milby believes society is risking making their sleeping problems much worse.

The problem, UAB internist and palliative medicine specialist Rodney Tucker noted, was that people who could not deal with the stress of daily life were seen as “needing a pill.”

There is a prevalent belief that everyone can deal with all the problems being thrown at them when this is simply not the case.

The perception that taking a pill can fix their problems, along with the unwillingness to let go of established personal routines and invest time in personal therapy, has caused more and more people to become dependent on sleeping aids.

It allows them to avoid having to deal with the harsh reality of having a problem and the need to rectify the situation, which is likely to do more harm than good in the long-term.

sleeping strategies

5 Self-Help Sleep Techniques

Reducing Your Evening Stimulation

The best nighttime routine is one that leaves you feeling relaxed and ready to go to bed.

If you are experiencing trouble falling asleep, it may be beneficial to avoid external prompts or inducement for an hour or so before bedtime.

Stimulation, such as watching television, keeps your mind active and alert.  If you find it difficult to give up television before bed, try to select shows that are calming rather than aggressive, action-packed programs.

When reducing your evening stimulation to promote healthy sleep habits, try these tips:
  • Keep your bedroom television-free.  This will help your mind and body associate the bedroom with sleeping only.
  • Don’t exercise up to three hours prior to bedtime.  Remember that exercise wakes up your body, and unless the physical activity is done well before you plan to go to bed, it will work against you when trying to sleep.
  • Plan to unwind when returning home from being out. If you jump directly into bed, your mind and body might not have sufficient time to decompress and slip into your evening routine.
  • Try reading.  Non-technical reading might help make you tired.  Avoid work-related or overly complicated material.
  • Avoid falling asleep without turning off the light.  This will wake you up in the night and disturb your sleep cycles, as well as you bedtime routine.

The goal is to define the fine line between stimulation and relaxation when deciding how to unwind.

Being able to easily relax at night will be paramount to your success in falling asleep naturally.

Stay Away From Internal Stimulants

While there are many external stimulates in your environment, there are also stimulants that affect your body from the inside.

Impacting the way you feel, think, and relax, these products contain caffeine, sugar, and chemicals.

While you don’t need to completely remove these items from your diet, you do need to pay attention and be sure not to ingest them after dinnertime to avoid difficulty falling asleep.

Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine wakes up your body and mind by raising your heart rate.  Since it has this effect, it is considered a stimulant.

Coffee, colas, teas, and chocolate beverages contain caffeine.  Have your last caffeinated beverage at least 3-4 hours prior to bedtime to avoid having difficulty sleeping.

Chocolate 

Chocolate has caffeine and sugar, both of which are stimulants that will keep you from having a restful night’s sleep. Do not have chocolate for 2-3 hours prior to bedtime.

Alcohol

While alcoholic beverages might make you feel tired and help you fall asleep, the sleep is typically not restful.

For example, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night feeling dehydrated, then have trouble falling back to sleep.

As with any other medication that can become addictive, you do not want to create a nightly dependency on alcohol to fall asleep at night.

Smoking

Tobacco contains nicotine which is a stimulant.

Your body’s nicotine dependency can cause your body to wake when the level of nicotine in your blood becomes low.

Try to not to smoke in the hours before bedtime.

Caffeine in Common Beverages and Drugs
Beverages
Brewed coffee, drip method, 5 oz cup 60-180 mg caffeine
Instant coffee, 5 oz. cup 30-120 mg caffeine
Decaffeinated coffee, 5 oz. cup 1-5 mg caffeine
Brewed tea, 5 oz. cup 60-180 mg caffeine
Instant tea, 5 oz. cup 25-50 mg caffeine
Iced Tea, 12 oz. cup 67-76 mg caffeine
Cola, 12 oz. cup 36-47 mg caffeine
Chocolate
Dark/semisweet, 1 oz. 5-35 mg caffeine
Non-prescription Drugs
Dexatrim 200 mg caffeine
No Doz 100 mg caffeine
Excedrin 65 mg caffeine
 Your Diet Matters

Your diet impacts your ability to fall asleep and maintain sleep at night. By eating a healthy diet, low in processed foods, sugar, fat, and preservatives.

You may find that you can stop the cycle of insomnia and improve your overall health.

Consider these guidelines for a healthy sleep diet:
  • Follow the recommended daily guidelines for fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase the complex carbohydrates in your diet.
  • Eat protein that is low in fat, and consider meat substitutes like tofu or veggie burgers.
  • Avoid spicy and heavy foods.
  • If you need a snack before bed, make it low in fat and sugar.
  • Eat your last meal four or more hours before bedtime.
  • Try not to overeat at your nighttime meal because you might feel drowsy immediately after eating.  Alternatively, be sure to eat enough so that you are not ravenous at bedtime.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. A well-hydrated body won’t wake up in the night because of dehydration. Drink eight glasses, equivalent to 2 liters of water per day.

Watch yourself for food allergies that might be subtly causing you sleep disturbances.

Common food allergies that might affect your sleep patterns are wheat, dairy products, corn, and chocolate.

A well-balanced, wholesome diet will help you be a healthier person overall.  General health is a huge factor in your ability to fall asleep naturally.

If your daily intake of food is healthy, your body and mind will be healthy and well-nourished, helping you sleep deeply without waking in the night.

sleeping technique

Get Rid of Anxiety and Worry

Are you someone whose mind is filled with thoughts of your family, your finances, your job and the future, when you are trying to fall asleep?

Do you find it hard to stop thinking and /or worrying about things long enough to drift off?

If your mind is busy at bedtime, it can lead to constant tossing and turning and insomnia.

If you worry about situations in life, there are a few techniques you can use to help put the worry out of your mind and fall asleep.

First, realize that now is the time to sleep, and the situations and events that are causing you stress will be there tomorrow.

Try making a “Worry Notebook.”  In a notebook designated for this purpose, create a list of what’s causing you stress and anxiety before you go to bed. Then go through the list and identify which items can be dealt with tomorrow.

The list of items on your list for tomorrow then becomes your to-do list for the next day.  This will help you feel more in control and positive about the situation.

In a separate section of your notebook, create a list of things that you worry about but are out of your control. Reconfirm to yourself that you have no power to change these things.

When you have finished your lists, put away the notebook and remind yourself that you have put these things out of your mind, and onto paper, and will not think about them again until tomorrow.

If you find yourself thinking about these stressors during the night, firmly remind yourself that you have put away the notebook until the morning and now is sleep time.

Another idea for getting rid of your worry and anxiety is to write in a diary daily. Along with a record of your day, be sure to include what bothers you and causes you stress.

The main point of this exercise is to put your feelings on paper, thus releasing you from thinking and worrying about them at night.

For both of these techniques, the act of writing down your anxiety and worry gives you permission to rest at night and handle your feelings the next day.

Yoga and soft music or relaxing sounds may help to clear your mind. Consider trying light reading to keep your mind off worrisome thoughts.

If you teach your mind to relax, you will find it easier to achieve a night of restful sleep.

Bath Time

A soothing warm bath an hour or so before bedtime will relax you and help you feel sleepy.

Do not try to go to sleep immediately following the bath because warm water has a stimulating effect on your body by raising your body temperature.

After the bath, you will probably find yourself getting drowsy as your body temperature returns to normal.

How does a warm bath help you sleep better? 

The warm water will relax your major muscle groups, help your circulatory system, and raise your body temperature.

When your core temperature returns to normal about an hour after the bath, you’ll still feel relaxed and comfortable and your body will be ready for sleep.

Creating a peaceful bath time experience is easy and enjoyable. To make a soothing bath environment, light candles and use dim lighting in the bathroom.

Experiment with scented oils or incense. Put on some light, tranquil music, and enjoy the mellow environment.

Another way to make your bath special is to add herbs to the water.  Make a blended herb take advantage of the herb’s relaxing qualities.

Put the sachet in the tub when it’s filling, and hold it under the hot water while it steeps.  Unwind in the tub while enjoying the herbal scents.  A few comforting herbs to try are lavender, chamomile, mint, passion flower, and lime flower.

There are many aromatic oils on the market that are created to induce relaxation.  About  4-5 drops of the essential oil are added to the bath after the tub is filled.

When deciding on an essential oil to use, try rose, chamomile, lavender, hops, ylang-ylang, vetiver, or neroli for a calming bath.

Bath powder is the third choice of enhancements that can be added to your bath.

This recipe for bath powder should be added to the water while you are filling the tub.

Milk & Honey Bath Powder

You will need:

½ cup honey

3 cups powdered milk

Lavender buds

You have to:

Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl.

Add several tablespoons of the milk bath to warm water in the tub.

Store any remaining mixture in a sealed container.

Bath time is a great way to encourage relaxation and drowsiness. Experiment with various herbs and oils to find the ones that work best for you.

 


POINTS TO REMEMBER

5 Self-Help Sleeping Techniques

  1. Reducing Your Evening Stimulation
    The goal is to define the fine line between stimulation and relaxation when deciding how to unwind.
  2. Stay Away from Internal Stimulants
    Caffeinated Beverages
    Chocolate
    Alcohol
    Smoking
  3. Your Diet Matters
    Eat a healthy diet, low in processed foods, sugar, fat, and preservatives.
  4. Get Rid of Anxiety and Worry
  5. Bath Time
    A soothing warm bath an hour or so before bedtime will relax you and help you feel sleepy.

TAKEAWAY QUESTIONS

– Are you having some difficulty sleeping at night?

– What are your measures for you to be able to sleep well?

– What sleeping strategies work best for you?

– What other effective sleeping strategies that you know?


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