If everything we need to know we learned in Kindergarten, than our sleeping habits started when we were babies. A Sleep Easy is about how we can change our sleeping habits and try new solutions to an old problem. If you are a person that has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep we hope to give you techniques and tips to sleep better at night.
Like babies we need to relearn the basics and break bad sleeping patterns. Here are a few suggestions that may help:
Learn your body’s signs when you are tired. Rubbing your eyes and yawning maybe good indications that you are sleepy, but lack of concentration and restlessness also tell you that you maybe overtired. A lot of us get through a period of drowsiness and find, what is known as our second wind and then we stay up too late. If we try to get our required recommended 7-8 hours of sleep this is sometimes impossible because of our work schedule. Adhere to your body’s signs and start your nightly routine. Minimize the noise by turning off the TV, take a warm bath, have a cup of Sleepytime tea or read a book.
Like babies we sleep better when we have consistent bedtime rituals. We sleep best when we learn these patterns of association just like during infant development. During infant development we stored thousands of sequences that became patterns which programmed our bedtime ritual and as a result this is how we fell asleep. If your parents allowed you to stay up late, eat late (which can cause us to wake during the night with a tummy ache or indigestion) or even rocked you to sleep these sleeping patterns could be the reason you have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep now.
If we had a hard time falling asleep as a baby your mother might have put a gadget in your crib that played lullabies to lull you to sleep. Sleep music, hypnotic tapes or CD’s and white noise are used today to help those that have sleeping problems. Sleep music can be instrumental or classical as well as a recording of a waterfall or rain. Hypnotic tapes or CD’s have subliminal messages and breathing exercises that help you relax. White noise is a repetitive, monotonous sound that can be recorded or try a fan as an alternative method.
If you like to have a snack before you go to bed (like a baby with a bottle) there are foods that cause you to be lethargic. Try a slice of turkey, some nuts, hardboiled egg, cereal or a warm glass of milk. These foods are rich with the biochemical Tryptophan. Tryptophan is known to make people drowsy. This is why you want to nap after you have had your Thanksgiving Day meal.
Speaking of naps and I for one love a good nap in the late afternoon, but for some of us this causes us to stay up too late and messes up our sleep cycle. If you have problems falling asleep at night because you nap, try taking a “power nap” instead. A power nap consists of only 20 minutes of sleep.
When you do go to bed it’s always nice to crawl in a made bed with clean, soft sheets. It’s best not to wear constrictive clothing because they don’t move with you when you turn over or you may become over heated. You will wake up during the night adjusting your clothes and throwing your covers on and off to control your body temperature. It has been recommended to keep your bedroom temperature at 65 degrees especially if you have a memory foam mattress topper. Memory foam mattress toppers can trap in the heat and become too soft during the night. (This is why a memory foam mattress topper is not recommended for infants) If your bedroom is too dry use a humidifier so you don’t wake up congested.
If you try these tips and still have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep you may have an underlying medical problem and should consult with your doctor. Your doctor may suggest having a sleep apnea test at a sleep clinic or prescribe a sleep aid medication.
The above techniques will help you create healthy sleep habits by learning how to reprogram your night time rituals that will benefit you as well as your family. At A Sleep Easy we will be discussing in more depth about sleep disorders and sleep aides to help you understand and keep you informed about new sleep remedies to this age old problem, because we all deserve to sleep like a baby.