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Man sleeping

 

Last week I talked about 5 steps to sleeping better. This week I’m going to add onto these steps with some common sense ideas that we can forget during our busy day-to-day lives.

Exercise

 

This may seem obvious but it’s something that many people need to build into their lives regularly. Getting enough exercise helps fatigue your body so you are more likely to fall asleep.

 

Be aware to exercise several hours before it’s bedtime. Exercise often gives us a boost of energy that’s the opposite of what you want when you are ready to go to bed. Make sure you’ve given your body enough time to move past that energy surge so that you can slow things down. How long does it take you to come off your exercise energy burst? What time of day would it be best to exercise?

 

The food we eat

 

I’m sure this may seem obvious too because so much seems to come down to what we eat and drink. What is your diet like? Do you eat balanced meals that are low in sugar and processing? The food we eat impacts our energy levels, our moods, and our ability to sleep well. Eating 3 balanced meals with a couple of snacks allows your body to function properly and that includes signaling you when it’s time to go to sleep.

 

What we drink

 

Alcohol and caffeine also wreak havoc with our bodies. Some people believe having an alcoholic beverage before bed can help them fall asleep. Unfortunately, alcohol may help some get to sleep but can interfere with your brain’s ability to stay asleep. It may be worth experimenting with limiting or cutting out alcohol several hours before bed and noticing what difference it makes in your sleep.

 

Consider how caffeine affects you. Can you continue to drink coffee or tea after breakfast and fall asleep easily at night? It may be worth experimenting with your caffeine intake as well and notice what difference it makes to cut out caffeine altogether or to limit how late in the day you drink it.

 

If you wake up…

 

Try to relax and fall back to sleep. If you’re awake for awhile though, get up. Your bed is for sleeping or sex and if you can’t sleep, it can be an exercise in frustration to lie there telling yourself to stop thinking and go to sleep.

Get up and go to the living room or kitchen. Making a nice cup of sleepy time tea or warm milk and honey can be really helpful. Go back to the “slow down” section of last week’s blog and go through your routine again until you feel like you can shut those eyes.

 

Racing thoughts?

 

In some earlier blogs, I talked about some ways to help take you out of your head and back to the here and now. Go to these blogs and experiment to see if any of these ideas makes a difference:

Sleep is really precious. What about your lifestyle helps you to get a good night’s sleep?

I’d love to hear your comments on what’s been helpful for you!

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