Getting a Good Night's Sleep
Many people suffering from insomnia use
sleep medications to help them nod off, but this isn't a good first
choice for combating sleep problems.
"Natural sleep is healthier
than drug-aided sleep. After taking sleep medications, people often
feel hazy and detached when they wake up. In contrast, people who
fall asleep naturally are more likely to wake up refreshed,"
Dr. Robert Ballard, director of the Sleep Center and National Jewish
Medical and Research Center in Denver, said in a prepared statement.
He offered several tips for developing
good sleep habits to help you fall asleep more easily and reliably:
- Prepare yourself for sleep by making
sure you're calm and relaxed before you go to bed. Before you
hit the sack, wind down with relaxing activity. Avoid loud music
and television. Turn down the lights. Reading, yoga and meditation
can help prepare you for sleep.
- Stick to a regular schedule by
going to bed and waking up at about the same times every day.
Your body will get used to the schedule and be better prepared
for sleep at bedtime. Make sure your bedroom is cool and comfortable.
If you have a luminescent alarm clock, move it out of your direct
line of vision.
- If you spend more than 15 minutes
in bed tossing and turning, get out of bed and do something relaxing
such as reading. Staying in bed while you're awake only increases
your anxiety about not being able to get to sleep.
- Exercise can help you sleep better,
but only if you exercise at the right time. The ideal time for
exercise is in the morning. Exercising late in the day can contribute
to sleeplessness. That's because exercise causes an increase in
your body's energy.
- Don't eat big meals before bed
and don't consume caffeine in the afternoon or evening. Don't
smoke. Alcohol can also impair your ability to sleep.
"When people don't get enough
sleep, their health can be seriously jeopardized. Not sleeping enough
can impair the memory, cause depression, and make one more susceptible
to illness," Ballard said.
If sleeplessness persists for more
than a month -- even though you're practicing healthy sleep habits
-- you should consult your doctor, Ballard said.
The National Sleep Foundation has
more about getting a good
Reference Source 101