Six Sound Suggestions for Sleeping Soundly
By Dr. Don Rose,
Seem stressed? Sad? Sick? Saggy skin? Suggestion: sleep soundly!
A good night’s shut-eye can do wonders to alleviate stress, and it helps to fend off a host of other ailments. Another bonus: you’ll look younger and improve your mood to boot!
Below are some tips to help you get that better, deeper, fuller night’s rest (inspired in part by some sleep tips posted on the website lifescript.com).
Suggestions for Sound Sleep Sessions
1. Sound off.
As in, turn off music and noise as much as possible. You want to minimize distractions that may keep you from reaching the deepest levels of sleep, which many feel give your body the best benefits. One possible exception to this rule: a CD of soothing tunes (for example, gentle natural sounds, like waves on the beach) -- on low volume -- can help many folks get to sleep faster. If it works, do it.
This rule includes turning the TV off. Don’t try to use it as a means to fall asleep, because even if it does succeed, odds are you will wake up in the middle of the night to the awful racket of noisy static, or some loud infomercial host wearing an even louder shirt. In other words, TV may sometimes help you get to sleep, but it can often wake you up too, so shut the tube off before shutting your eyes.
2. Lose lights.
Similar to rule number one. Minimizing sensory input is the goal. It is much easier to fall asleep in a darkened room, and dark surroundings will help keep you asleep for the full seven to eight hours you need.
For some who are very sensitive to light, or in situations where blocking all light is not possible, wearing soft “eye-shades” during sleep helps minimize visual distractions to a greater degree (sort of like a pair of thicker, wider eyelids).
There are companies who even make special eyeshades with high-tech lights inside them, programmed in such a way to help induce sleep in those who wear them. This would be the only exception to the “lose lights” rule.
3. No night noshing (ninety).
That is, don’t eat for at least 90 minutes before going to bed. Not only will this lessen the chance of heartburn waking you up in the middle of the night, but this helps you avoid weight gain as well. (In general, eating at night is a no no. Now you know.)
4. Exercise early.
You want to exercise early in the day so that you get a boosted metabolism burning calories for you all day. That should be motivation enough. But waiting till late in the day to exercise not only minimizes or loses that metabolism boost, but it can get you so revved up that you can’t sleep at night. Remember: mornings mean more movement; eliminate evening exercise.
5. Do your drinks stimulate? Don’t do it late.
If you must have your fix of caffeine during the day (coffee, tea, coke), do so in moderation, and enjoy these beverages as early as possible. The reason is obvious: late stimulation makes it harder for your body to calm down and prepare for sleep.
6. Sleep Supplements and Similar Substances
There are certain supplements and foods that can help some folks relax. The goal, if you choose this route, is to do it naturally.
For example, some people swear by a daily intake of valerian root to promote sleep.
5-HTP, a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan, can induce a restful sleep because it boosts serotonin levels, which help you relax. Turkey has high amounts of this amino acid, and the aftermath of many Thanksgiving feasts shows evidence of its powerful sleep-inducing properties.
Other folks prefer tea with a dash of milk to help relax before bed (I like soy milk with valerian tea or chamomile tea). Of course, any such pre-sleep tea should be decaffeinated.
By combining one or more of the above suggestions, you should be diving into the land of deep dozing dreams in no time. The result of better sleep will be obvious, from your face to your mood to your overall energy levels. Good night, and sleep well!
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Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles
on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.
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