1. Keep moving or take a warm bath
Low-impact physical exercise early in the evening, such as a leisurely walk, helps some people to sleep better. Walking can clear the mind of the day’s worries and activities. A warm-cool bath promotes sleep for others. Repetitious thinking such as counting sheep or reciting positive affirmations works for a few people. Reading, praying, and meditating can relax the mind, allowing sleep to come.
2. Stop midnight awakenings
For people who awaken during the night and cannot return to sleep, several remedies may be tried. Avoid drinking fluids after the evening meal, to reduce the need to go to the bathroom during the night or in the early morning hours. People who take diuretics should take that in the morning instead of the evening, to prevent bathroom trips at night.
3. Don’t touch that snooze button
People suffering from early morning insomnia should attempt to go to bed earlier so that their rest is completed by their morning waking time, rather than remaining in bed and perpetuating the focus on not sleeping. It’s best to get up and do a productive activity.
4. Keep electronics out of the bedroom: Lights out thirty minutes before falling asleep
Let’s face it — we love our gizmos and gadgets. I know I do! Our modern society is flooded with high-resolution electronic screens — TVs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets that can be easily taken just about anywhere. Many people find it difficult to disconnect, and more and more people use electronic devices in their bedrooms, which is preventing them from getting the rest they need.
A 2011 Sleep in America® poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that six in ten Americans use their personal computer within an hour of going to sleep and four in ten Americans bring their cell phones, smartphones, or tablets computer into the bedroom. A staggering number of people—80% in the same study — report problems falling asleep at night, and these devices are likely a contributing factor. This is in part due to the effects of LED backlit screens emitting glowing blue-light wavelength on melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
5. Build and follow a regular sleeping ritual: Wake Up Refreshed and Ready
When it comes to following a sleeping pattern, discipline is key. If you are frequently changing your sleeping times and are not regularly sleeping around the same time, then it will inhibit your body from developing a sleeping cycle or rhythm.
Most people who wake up energized and active are the ones who have developed a regular sleeping pattern; they make sure they get to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time.
For example, if you go to bed at 10:30 pm and wake up at 6:30 am, and make this a habit, your body will get into a sleeping rhythm also known as the circadian rhythm.
6. Listen to music and drift away
Music can relax you and induce sleep. I love to listen to classical music 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed. My favorites are “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy and “Meditation from the opera Thaïs” by Jules Massenet. If you are not a classical music fan, that’s fine! Play anything that relaxes you, something like Café del Mar Dreams by Milews Buddha Bar Mix, but just don’t listen to AC/DC or something that makes you want to jump out of bed and go out of your mind.
7. Use guided meditation for sleep
I find guided meditation very helpful myself, and I recommend them to my clients. There are many free-guided audio meditations for sleep available on the Internet. YouTube has an extensive reputable selection. You can also purchase guided meditations for sleep and relaxation on CD at any book- store or online. I prefer the app versions so I can have them on my smartphone. I usually use a headset and leave the phone in a separate room.
If you suffer from chronic insomnia, consult with your physician as there may be some underlying medical issues causing your sleep disturbance. Important Note: if you suffer from sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, wear it before listening to guided