Techniques To Help You Get A Good Night's Sleep

Are you falling into bed at the end of each day eagerly awaiting sleep, only to find yourself staring at the ceiling for hours? Oddly enough, you aren't alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, almost 60 million Americans experience sleep insomnia. While some of these people will only experience the sleep disorder for a short time, others may be stuck with it for an extended period. Thankfully, there are certain things you can do to try and put an end to this sleeplessness for good.

One of the best ways to help your body recognize that it is time for bed is to set up a bedtime routine. The simple act of repeating the things you do before you go to sleep each night establishes a routine that helps train your body. These acts could include dimming the lights in your bedroom at a certain time each evening, having a warm bath before bed each night, or even something simple like routinely cleaning your teeth and washing your face before bed. You should also set a regular bedtime for yourself as varying your sleeping hours can significantly disrupt the quality of your sleep. Our bodies thrive on routine so try to go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. If you find yourself lying in bed wide awake, get up and read a book until you feel tired and ready for bed again.

A lot of people neglect to pay attention to their caffeine intake during the day, and this can be a significant factor in sleeplessness. Caffeine stimulates the body to stay awake and can stay in your system for up to 8 hours at a time, so you need to avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings. Try to cut back significantly on soda, coffee, chocolate, and all other food and drinks that contain caffeine. Instead, drink a herbal tea such as peppermint, which decreases stress, settles an upset stomach, and has no caffeine. 

For optimal sleep conditions, make your bedroom as dark as possible. Light interrupts the secretion of melatonin, the hormone in your body that is responsible for regulating your sleep cycle, and therefore interrupts your ability to sleep. Make sure all curtains and blinds in your room are closed, and turn all electronic equipment off. If light is still coming through your windows and keeping you awake, try using an eye mask.

Consider carefully the clothing you wear to bed as wearing too much or too little can have a big impact. Being overly warm when you are in bed means your body won't release melatonin. Similarly, being too cold will keep you awake. Try taking a few layers of clothing off before sliding between the sheets and the drop in body temperature will actually help you feel sleepier. Add blankets to the end of the bed in case you need more warmth and don't neglect your feet. Sometimes wearing socks with shorts can be the best combination.

Exercise is a great way to tire out your body, but exercising too close to bedtime can have a negative impact on your sleep. This is because exercise boosts your heart rate, releases endorphins, and wakes you up. Try and exercise early in the morning or early in the afternoon for optimal benefits. And if you don't currently get at least 30-minutes of exercise a day, start. Your body needs to be tired to feel tired.

Eating too late into the evening can also have a detrimental effect on your sleep so eat your last meal a couple of hours before you plan to go to bed. If you go to bed on a full stomach your body will attempt to digest the food while you are going to sleep, and this will keep you awake. You should never go to bed hungry, however, because the feeling of wanting to eat, and the noise of a grumbling stomach, will definitely keep you up. Instead, have dinner a few hours before you plan to hit the sheets, and if you get hungry later have a light snack such as a banana or a piece of toast.

If you've tried everything and still aren't falling asleep at night, it may be time to see your doctor to investigate the use of a sleep aid. Taking melatonin in pill form has become popular over the past few years, and is best suited for people who are not making enough natural melatonin in their body. It is said that the pills help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, but they don't work for everybody. If you need stronger medication to fall asleep your doctor will be able to prescribe this for you, if necessary, which will hopefully solve your sleeping dramas for good.