How do you sleep? How many hours do you need personally? Are you getting a good night’s sleep?
Do you have difficulty sleeping?
As we get older it seems that sleep often becomes more elusive, or at least we wake up more at night. I know I do and a really good night’s sleep just doesn’t happen.
Of course insomnia is an in depth problem, and you should see your doctor if you regularly cannot stay asleep at night, or you’re awake for long periods of time, because it could be masking other conditions.
Once Upon a Time Sleep
I used to sleep like the dead. As soon as my head touched the pillow I’d be out for 8 hours – no problem. If I wanted to wake up at a certain time I’d bang my head on the pillow X amount of times and mostly wake up at the allotted hour. Crazy right! But true.
These days, a good night’s sleep often eludes me, and I get snatches, rather than a straight 7 – 8 hours.
Now things like the garden irrigation going on might wake me at night, my husband snoring, a gum nut falling on the tin roof, or the squawk of a raucous bird at 4am in the morning.
I seem to sleep lighter than ever before and a good night’s sleep like in my younger days are long gone.
I even have problems falling asleep these days, so I’m always looking for tips to help me get to sleep quickly, and sleep better.
Here are some of the insomnia solutions I’ve found out which I hope might help you if you have difficulty falling asleep and getting a good night’s sleep.
How do I get a good night’s sleep?
I try not to read with a backlit device like a laptop or tablet. Books, or e-readers are better as they don’t have their own light source.
In fact I try not to look at my phone or laptop within a few hours of bedtime if possible.
Late night TV I know is a no-no (but sometimes, well you know!) as the light from your TV can suppress melatonin. Sometimes I put on Spotify and listen to music instead of watching TV, or I might listen to a podcast or audio book.
5 Ways to fall asleep fast and stay asleep
- Make sure all electronic devices are turned to silent and that their lights aren’t winking at you. Cover them up, or better still remove them from your bedroom altogether.
- Use block out blinds to keep your room dark.
- Put clocks out of sight so that you don’t ‘clock watch.’
- If you can’t sleep, don’t turn on your computer, don’t turn on a bright light, but use a small torch and go and sit somewhere in the warm, in a comfy chair and listen to an audio book.
- Did you know that caffeine can cause sleep problems for hours – some say up to ten and twelve hours after drinking it? At least try not to have it after about noon.
How do I stay asleep ALL night?
If you can get to sleep but can’t stay asleep there could be an underlying problem. Here are some tips to help you sleep through.
Tips to help you sleep for longer periods
- Alchohol is not the ‘relaxing’ friend you might think it is. It plays havoc with your sleep cycle and you may wake at night. If you’re going to have a drink, make sure you have only one drink, a few hours before bedtime.
- Try to drink water throughout the day, and don’t suddenly drink lots just before going to bed, or you’ll be up all night going to the toilet.
- Try to meditate before bedtime to clear your mind of the day’s worries. Or read a book to take your mind off things.
What helps you sleep better through the night – Try these tips
Here are some sensible tips for getting a good night’s sleep and staying asleep all night.
5 sensible things to help you sleep
- Exercise regularly, but not before bed.
- Don’t nap during the daytime.
- If you wake up at night and stay awake for more than about 20 minutes, don’t just lie there, get up and read a book or listen to an audio book.
- Eating lots of sugary foods and refined carbs during the day can make you more wakeful at night.
- Don’t have a heavy meal late at night. By all means eat something just before going to bed at night as this can sometimes help promote sleep. Try to eat dinner earlier, at least two hours before bedtime.
How to get more deep sleep
Try a small snack before bedtime. Here are some suggested snacks you could try …
Food for good sleep
- A small turkey sandwich
- A small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal
- A glass of milk or a yoghurt
- A small banana
8 rituals to help you relax before bedtime
- Read a book or magazine
- Have a bath
- Listen to relaxing music
- Do a five minute, gentle stretch routine each night
- Try to relax your brain, don’t check your phone or your emails, rather engage in a hobby.
- Listen to an audio book or podcast.
- Get yourself organised for the day ahead: Write a list. Make sandwiches, or salad ready for tomorrow’s lunch and clear the decks in your kitchen.
- Close the curtains, and turn down the dimmer switches on lights if you can to help prepare you for bed.
How do you fall asleep in 5 minutes?
Try to stop worrying. Count sheep if you have to. Or say your prayers. Or chant (in your head not out loud!)
Here’s a trick that acts like a tranquilliser.
“This technique acts like a natural tranquilizer by slowing down your heart rate. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, “Unlike sleep medications, which often lose effectiveness over time, four-seven-eight breathing is subtle at first but gains power with practice.” The Loop.
- Breathe in through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Slowly breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds.
- Repeat this process until you fall asleep.
What to do if you don’t get enough sleep during the week
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research about sleep duration and mortality suggests that a long life, and time spent sleeping are linked. Mortality increases if people sleep less than five hours a night on weekdays and weekends, compared to those who sleep around six to seven hours each night. But if you can catch up on sleep at the weekend, then this helps your chances.
In conclusion, our findings indicate that mortality is increased when both weekday and weekend sleep are short, or when both are long in subjects below the age of 65 years. However, when weekend sleep is extended after short weekday sleep no association with mortality is seen. We suggest that this may reflect positive effects of compensatory sleep. However, this issue needs to be addressed in longitudinal studies of changes in sleep duration and their link to mortality.Journal of Sleep Research
I’m not a ‘know it all’ when it comes to sleep. Some of the tips above have worked for me and come from my own knowledge about how to sleep better, but I’ve also been researching to find out how to get a good night’s sleep – and these are the resources I found helpful in writing this post: –
- Help Guide Getting Better Sleep
- Expert answers about Insomnia by the Mayo Clinic
- Hacks to help you fall asleep
- Benefits of sleeping in on the weekend
Further posts about sleep
- Do you have difficulty sleeping? Here’s how to sleep better.
- How to Sleep Well at Night
- Solutions for Insomnia
Do you have any tips for getting a good night’s sleep?
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