So you've done the math and it's sleep that's coming up short. Unfortunately, when you're tired, your quality of life during your entire day suffers.
The best way to get more sleep is by simply going to bed earlier each night. Start by going to bed a half hour earlier than usual, then work up to a full hour. And if you think this is an obvious suggestion, why aren't you already doing it? Chances are you think you don't have the time, but the truth is that being more alert during your day allows you to function with greater efficiency -- so you may actually save time by sleeping more!
The following tips will help you fall asleep faster -- and will ensure that you stay asleep:
Avoid exercising within two hours of bedtime. Exercise accelerates your metabolism and can wake you up to a state of alertness -- the exact opposite of where you want to be when you're hitting the hay.
Don't eat too late at night. Eating within two hours of bedtime can interfere with your sleep; as your body tries valiantly to digest the meal, you may find yourself waking up intermittently.
Don't drink alcohol within two hours of bedtime. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that interferes with sleep patterns. Alcohol is also dehydrating, so you may feel tired and thirsty when you wake up, even if you spent hours in bed.
Avoid caffeine. This stimulant can sabotage attempts at sleep.
Drink soothing teas before you're scheduled to sleep. Chamomile, passionflower and valerian are medically proven natural sedatives, says licensed herbalist and acupuncturist John Holmstrom III of Desert Hot Springs, Calif.
Drink warm milk and honey, an age-old folk remedy for inducing sleep. The calcium and other minerals in milk help soothe the nervous system, which in turn influences all the other organs and body systems to relax.
Take a hot bath with lavender, rose or jasmine essential oil. The combination of hot water and relaxing scents helps calm your central nervous system and, in turn, relaxes your other organs and body systems, says psychiatrist and neurologist Alan Hirsch, M.D., founder and director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Center in Chicago.
Never get in bed until you're ready to go to sleep. That means that all you bedroom workaholics need to drop your files at the door! When you finally tuck yourself in, you'll be signaling your body to fall asleep.
Listen to guided meditation CDs or your favorite soothing music. This will help shift your mind and body into sleep mode.
Practice progressive relaxation to help yourself drift into dreamland faster. Here are some guidelines from Katie Boland, founder and director of the Mind/Body Institute in Los Angeles:
"Close your eyes and visualize your favorite vista: the ocean, the sky, a meadow, the mountains, the desert. Focus your attentions on relaxing your body in the toes and feet. If thoughts come up and distract you, just let them drift away and return to your body focus. Feel how warm and calm your feet are, then move up to your ankles, then feel your calves warm up. Progressively relax your knees, your thighs, your stomach and chest. Feel the tension in your shoulders drain away. Rotate your head and imagine your neck is as supple and smooth as a tulip stem. Let your jaw soften, let your lips feel full and let your tongue drop inside your mouth. Enjoy how your eyes feel like they're floating in their sockets; enjoy the feeling of sleepiness that pervades your body, your mind and spirit." - - - - -
Source: Health & Wellness