Getting a good night’s sleep can be tough at any stage in your life. In fact, it has been estimated that 90 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder at one time or another. Those of us who are free of medical disorders are still susceptible to poor sleep habits. And not getting enough sleep can do more than leave us irritable, it can take it’s toll on us in other ways; poor concentration, emotional dysfunction and diminished physical performance.
If you’re having difficulty capturing a full night of rest, try these simple tips to cultivate better sleep habits so you can be more productive, happier and healthier.
Melatonin is a natural hormone your body releases to help regulate your 24-hour cycle of wakefulness and sleep. Unlike other familiar hormones like seratonin, which can be produced at any time, melatonin is only produced at night, and the darkness of your room will affect its production. Make sure you’re getting the right amount of melatonin by completely shading any windows, and removing any light-emitting electronic devices like your TV or laptop.
Although eating a large meal will often leave you feeling lethargic, that doesn’t mean it’s going to lead to proper sleep. After consuming a large meal your digestion kicks into high gear, which can prevent you from reaching the deep stages of sleep needed for a restful night.
While drinking a glass of wine may help you fall asleep, a few hours after imbibing your body will be stimulated as the alcohol leaves your bloodstream. If you are going to have a drink at night, finish it at least a few hours before hitting the sheets.
Antidepressants, Ritalin, Straterra, and even caffeine are all stimulants that can shorten the REM stage of sleep, which is the deepest sleep level. If you want to sleep through the night, these should be the first thing you cut from your nightly or even afternoon routine.
Falling asleep with the TV on is bad for two reasons; first, the stimulation from it will make it harder to fall asleep, and stay asleep. Second, the light produced from the TV may effect melatonin production. Do yourself a favor and turn off your TV, iPad, and other electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime to ease your brain into a state of restfulness.
Resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and mind-body workouts like yoga can improve not just your overall health and fitness, but if you’re working out hard enough, will also have you falling asleep soundly shortly after your head hits the pillow. Just be careful not to exercise late in the evening, otherwise it may be harder to fall asleep.
Fatigue builds over time, so make sure you’re taking at least a couple vacations each year. Happy workers are more productive than stressed and fatigued workers, so don’t be shy about using your allotted paid time off in full, especially if it doesn’t roll over to the next year.
Napping can actually help you sleep better at night. Just make sure to keep it short; a five to fifteen minute nap should be good enough to boost your energy without making it harder to get a full night’s sleep. Avoid napping too late in the day, otherwise you may not be tired enough to get to sleep on time when you need to.
My popular article “ABCs of ZZZs” was recently featured in Home Health Magazine. The PDF is viewable on my Publications page. The article provided by Home Health Magazine is also available for download in PDF format. This article was also featured on if you prefer to read it on your computer. If you prefer to read ABCs of ZZZs on your computer, you can read it HowToBeHealthier.org.
We all have days, or moments throughout the day, when the insomnia from the night before catches up with us or a busy schedule seems to have consumed all of our energy. The question is: what to do about it? If coffee is your go-to pick-me-up but you’re tired of the inevitable crash, there are some great alternatives you should know about. The article 11 All-Natural, Instant Energy Boosters from Shape Magazine offers some useful suggestions such as drinking more water, spending a few minutes in the sun, or even just standing:
Are you reading this slumped over your computer, feeling tired at the moment? Perk up by standing up, says Moshe Lewis M.D., chief of the department of physical medicine and rehab at the California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke’s Campus, in Redwood City, California.
Never sit too long. Vessels have a natural tendency to constrict during periods of inactivity, zapping you of energy and making you feel tired—even if you are not sleep deprived.
Standing up and walking around even just for a few minutes is enough to jump start your heart and muscles. Plus, it can help you be more productive once you sit down at your desk again, Dr. Lewis says.
One of the most important factors in achieving good health is getting enough quality sleep and unfortunately it can be one of the hardest things to do. There are simply so many ways to be interrupted—physical pain or injury, overactive thoughts and worries, stress and anxiety, and your weightloss routines, just to name a few. Short naps and light sleeping just isn’t enough; deeper REM sleep stages are ideal for maximum alertness and energy during the day. In an article entitled Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep I elaborate on five easy ways to incorporate sleep-promoting habits into your day.
- Darken the room so your brain releases more of its own melatonin for better sleep.
- Try not to eat or drink much just before bed, and try not to take medications with stimulants—for example, avoid antidepressants, caffeine, Ritalin, and Straterra. Food and stimulants shorten the REM stage in unhealthy ways.
- Turn off the television and radio an hour before bedtime. Decreasing stimulation will help to ease your brain into a state of restfulness. Incorporate restful practices into your waking life. For example, try yoga, or take time to pamper yourself at a spa or with a massage.
- Take vacation time and use your paid time off, especially when it does not accrue year to year. Fatigue builds over time, so be kind to yourself.
- Take naps, especially on the weekend when there is some extra time. What about sleep aids? It’s impossible to mention the devastating effects of poor sleep without a word about medical sleep aids.
Here are six tips that I always prescribe to those who suffer from Fibromyalgia:
This article was released on PressReleasePoint.com earlier; here is the accompanying press release information they provided:
Common complaints of living with fibromyalgia is sleep disturbance. Physical pain and rehabilitation expert offers tips on how to get better sleep and deal with the on-going wide-spread pain of fibromyalgia, a syndrome that dose not discriminate from day or night.
According to National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, scientists estimate that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans 18 or older. Between 80 and 90 percent of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. The widespread chronic pain of fibromyalgia is a syndrome causing on-going physical discomfort throughout the body, affecting muscles and joints. One of the more intolerable symptoms of fibromyalgia is sleep disturbance. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia and the exact cause of disorder is still being studied, consulting with the right pain specialist is key in learning how to deal with fibromyalgia.
Board Certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Moshe Lewis M.D., M.P.H., pain management specialist and one of the countries top integrative medicine experts offers six tips on how to get a good night sleep while living with fibromyalga, a syndrome that does not discriminate between day or night. Dr. Lewis is a trailblazer in his field whose cutting-edge methods are rapidly gaining media attention. Dr. Lewis has been featured in USA Today, ABC, CBS, NBC, KISS FM, as well as a host of other major media outlets. The following are six sleep secrets for those dealing with sleep disturbances caused by fibromyalgia. But, as Dr. Lewis explains, “you don’t need to be a fibromyalgia sufferer to benefit from these tips.”