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Tips for Better Sleep!

Posted Jun 09 2010 8:36pm

This week’s FitPoint topic is sleep!

Sleep!

Everyone sleeps, and everyone has something to say about sleep. Relate your sleeping habits, schedule or misadventures to your fitness lifestyle. How does it effect, improve or collide with your workouts or eating? Do you enjoy sleep? Or is it a nuisance to your schedule?

Well, here is a topic that affects me every day. I have suffered from chronic insomnia since the age of 5. (And as a result, I have tried every therapy, medication, herb and habit change that could be suggested, so please don’t) It seems no matter what is done to combat this lack of sleep, it doesnt seem to help. What this means for me is that I probably maintain about 3 hours of sleep, for every 3 nights. Sometimes I get lucky, but that is the usual pattern. Not only does this make energy and concentration hard, it can be the most aggrivating thing in the world!

So having shared my personal experience, I am going to use this week’s FitPoint to get out another article I had been working on, to share what has worked for me to help facilitate better chances for sleep, as well as to make the sleep we can get more fulfilling.

Tips for better Sleep:

Use an eye pillow: Absolute darkness makes a world of difference. I used blackout curtains, and unplugged everything that might glow, but this still did not prevent the sunlight seeping in through the window in the morning, reminding me that another sleepless night had come to its conclusion. An eye pillow, however, kept everything dark, all night! Not only does this make it easier to slip into sleep, it keeps you from staring at anything that might keep you awake.

Toss the clock: To have glowing numbers glaring at you telling you just how much sleep you have missed out on is not about to help you sleep any better. In fact, the constant awareness of the time will further prevent falling asleep. If you must have the time, then it is better to wear a wristwatch with a light. It will not be staring you in the face, and you will not have to actively rise and look for it.

Give up the Caffeine: This is something that most people should be kicking, especially soda. But coffee can be just as agitating to the insomniac as anything else. Caffeiene addiction not only keeps you from the sleep you need, but will inhibit the production of the alertness chemicals of the brain, which then requires more coffee. It is a vicious cycle, one that insomniacs in particular need to avoid! This is an especially important point if you drink energy drinks! Set your body right – skip excess caffeine and reap the benefits.

Set the Stage: The mind is a powerful tool. Therefore, if you have trouble sleeping, your bed needs to become a place of sleep. To read or watch TV in bed prevents you from entering sleep mentality when you get there, so to form the proper mental constructs, do these things elsewhere!

White Noise: You may shun the ocean or rain forest sound machines, but white noise is helpful! By having something that makes constant sound, you are less susceptible to the alertness arbitrary sound might cause. I know this is a huge problem for me as a light sleeper – anything can wake me up! Having any sort of constant white noise in the background makes that less likely.

Make Routine: Go to bed, and wake up at the same time every night despite how tired, or lack thereof you may be. Setting a schedule helps regulate your body and how it reacts at different points of the day, and will eventually lead to easier sleep. Regardless of what time I actually did (or did not) fall asleep, I get out of bed the same time every morning,as well as go to bed at the same time as often as possible. In doing this, my body is more likely to respond to the idea of sleep.

Exercise!!! A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and a healthy sleep shedule! The production of seratonin and adrenaline, chemicals that make us feel more alert, also help us find natural sleep. Since I begun exercising just under a year ago, I have slept better than I have in my entire life!!

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