Having difficulty at night in getting healthy sleep? Spending several hours without sleep? Continually watching the clock?
Healthy sleep equals good sleep habits. And a good night’s sleep is one of the most important cornerstones of health. Lack of sleep can result in added stress, lack of concentration, moodiness, memory loss, lower motivation, obesity and fatigue and can actually weaken the immune system.
A 2012 review published by The Lancet found that nearly a quarter of adults are unhappy with their sleep patterns, while up to 10 percent meet the criteria for full-fledged insomnia — putting them at a greater risk for depression, hypertension and diabetes.
Below are 101 Healthy Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep for those who continually experience insomnia.
Healthy Sleep Routine
- Maintain a regular bedtime routine. Try to go to bed at the same time and get up in the morning at the same time. Keeping a regular schedule helps the body expect sleep at the same time every day.
- Maintain your sleep schedule even on weekends and holidays. Following your sleep schedule even on weekends does not disturb the internal clock of the body and helps to maintain the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
- Regardless of how much sleep you had the before night, get up the same time in the morning. If the amount of sleep is reduced due to uncontrollable circumstances, don’t oversleep to make up for the lost hours.
- Make sleep a priority and set aside adequate time to sleep. Don’t feel guilty about going to bed early. Think of sleep as a prime investment in your health, wellness and productivity.
- Keep a sleep diary and write about your wake-up, nap and sleep timings of that day.. It’s helpful and often very revealing to understand your sleep habits and patterns.
- If feeling tired leads to sleepiness during the evening, try to resist going to bed early than usual — unless you are sick or feeling ill.
Healthy Sleep Environment
- Your bedroom should not be too hot or too cold. High temperatures can lead to disturbances in the quality of sleep. The optimum temperature is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If your room is too cold, use a humidifier or warm blankets.
- Your bed should not be too small or too hard. It should be large enough to sleep and convenient to turn or move to either sides. Switch to a king size bed, if necessary.
- Make sure that your bed and pillows are comfortable. A firm bed will give the entire body support. Keep extra pillows to sleep on side.
- Replace your mattress every eight to ten years. Old mattresses may cause allergies and back concerns which interrupt with sleep. Research organic mattresses.
- Test different types of mattresses. Make sure that the mattress does not sag which can lead to inadequate spinal support. Inadequate spinal support often leads to back pain.
- Remove any distractions from your bedroom. Your bedroom should be comfortable, clean and neat.
- Bedroom surroundings should be quiet and calm. There should not be any disturbance from outside noises. Use a white noise machine or fan to block outside noise. If the noise is too loud, use double-pane windows or heavy curtains to block the sound.
- Your bedroom should be well ventilated. Keep bedroom windows open to get fresh air. Hot stuffy air blocks nose and leads to dry throat, coughs or headaches. Invest in a quality air purifier for your bedroom.
- There should be no light in your bedroom. Light may disturb sleep. If lights from outside are disturbing, use room-darkening curtains for the windows.
- Your bedroom should be used for only sleep and sex.
- Don’t discuss the bills, daily concerns or watch television in your bedroom.
- Remove illuminated digital clocks from you bedroom. Focusing on the time results in anxiety and stress and disturbs sleep. Turn off computers, tablets, night lights, etc.
- Don’t use too many or too few blankets. Use them depending on the temperature of the room and what feels comfortable to you.
Healthy Sleep Aids
- Take a warm bath right before bed. Add 1 cup of Epsom Salts to the water. The magnesium in Epsom Salts will help to relax the entire body. Don’t use very hot water as it may worsen the situation.
- Try our DIY Sress Relief & Detox Bath Recipe.
- Some people may not prefer taking a warm bath; they can soak their feet in warm Epsom Salts water for fifteen to twenty minutes before going to bed.
- Use essential oils in bedroom for relaxing. Diffuse lavender essential oil in the bedroom an hour before bedtime. Place few drops of lavender oil on the pillow and it will help to relax the mind and body.
- Electro-magnetic fields can impede natural sleep. Many of the new smart meters used to replace a home’s analog electricity meter, are placed directly outside the main bedroom or living area. Smart meters seem to have a negative health effect on many people. Consider purchasing electromagnetic protection for your bedroom and home.
- Drinking warm, organic/raw milk before going to bed helps in soothing the nervous system. Milk contains calcium and works on the nervous system to help the body relax.
- Try a cup of herbal tea. Some of the herbs good for sleep are Valerian, Passion Flower, and Chamomile. These herbs will soothe and help in getting a good night sleep.
- Bananas practically work as a sleeping pill. Bananas contain melatonin, serotonin, potassium and magnesium, a muscle relaxant.
- Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain which controls the body’s circadian rhythm. Darkness stimulates the release of melatonin and light suppresses its activity. If production of melatonin at night decreases, it results in lack of sleep. Try Melatonin-ND, a natural hormone which is used to promote and improve sleep. Use under the direction of your healthcare professional.
- Organic oatmeal as it is a rich source of sleep induced melatonin.
- Ear plugs helps in blocking the disruptive noises that interferes with sleep, if surrounding noise is disturbing.
- Sleep masks block the light and provide complete darkness to sleep, if light is disturbing the sleep.
- Some people indicate that the supplement Lithium Orotate helps with end-of-day anxiety and stress.
Healthy Relaxation Techniques
- Massage is a great way to relax tensed and tired muscles. Ask your partner to massage the body before going to bed. It can be a simple massage which involves massaging neck, foot and hands.
- Deep breathing helps in relaxing muscle tension, lowers heart rate and helps to sleep faster. Do deep-breathing exercises in the bedroom before going to sleep.
- Meditation helps in clearing all the thoughts in mind. Meditating before going to bed relieves from all tensions and helps in getting a peaceful sleep.
- Use color therapy to promote general health and to treat physical and emotional sleep disturbances. Use calming colors in the bedroom which are soothing, calming and relaxing.
- Listen to relaxing music. Music is one of the best ways to calm the mind and relax the body. Listening to nature sounds is also soothing to the mind..
Healthy Sleep Rituals
- Avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed. Alcohol can disrupt sleep leading to poor quality of sleep.
- Avoid caffeine before going to bed. Caffeine stimulates the mind and body active and keeps one awake.
- Avoid soda, cookies, cakes and other stimulants as they interrupt with quality of sleep.
- Stop smoking as it releases adrenaline in the body and is a stimulant. It interrupts with quality of sleep.
- Do not exercise before bedtime. As it stimulates the body, exercising before bedtime makes it difficult to fall asleep.
- Do not watch television or movies before bedtime or in the bedroom. It disturbs the sleep and makes it difficult to sleep.
- Don’t drink too much fluid two hours before going to bed. It may lead to frequent urination and the sleep will be disturbed.
- Urinate before going to bed to prevent getting up in the middle of the night.
- Avoid heavy meals before bed time. Heavy meals may make lying down feel uncomfortable. Heavy meals can cause indigestion and interfere with sleep.
- Have dinner at least three hours before the bedtime.
- Eat a protein snack before bedtime to avoid hunger during the sleep.
- Snacks such as apples, organic almond butter, bananas and yogurt can help to keep insulin levels balanced.
- Eat a high protein snack several hours before bed, as it provides L-tryptophan which helps in producing serotonin and melatonin.
- Include generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, as it promotes health and good sleep.
- Don’t consume unhealthy fats, as fat takes several hours to digest.
- Vitamin B3, vitamin B12 and Folic acid seem to improve sleep.
- Don’t argue or fight with family members or friends before going to bed.
- Wear comfortable and loose clothing. 100% cotton is cool, soft and comfortable. Tight fitting clothes does not allow moving freely in the bed.
- Due to the fact that the feet have the poorest circulation, they often feel cold before the rest of the body which can wake you up during the night. Wear socks before going to bed.
- Sleeping with a pet may cause allergies and interfere with restful sleep.
- Keep a glass of purified water near the bed so, if thirsty, there is no need to get up during night.
- Sex with spouse before bedtime sometimes helps in a restful sleep.
- Stop doing office works or house hold activities an hour before bedtime to calm mental activity and to avoid stress.
- Avoid making phone calls or answering phone calls after going to bed.
- Maintain good body hygiene.
- Smell of foods or cigarette smoke can interfere with the quality of sleep. Remove the foods which are smelly and avoid smoking in the bedroom.
- Reduce weight, as obesity can cause breathing concerns and prevent a good night sleep.
Healthy Daytime Habits
- Don’t nap during daytime if you have trouble sleeping during the night. Napping during the daytime disturbs the body’s circadian rhythm making it more difficult to sleep at night.
- Exercise daily for half an hour regularly. Exercise in the late afternoon or in the morning. Exercise increases the body’s temperature and has an stimulating effect.
- Get exposed to sunlight during daytime especially in early morning or middle afternoon.
- Drink eight to ten glasses of purified water every day, as dehydration of the body leads to chronic fatigue.
- Check iron deficiency, as iron deficiency can inhibit sleep.
Healthy Sleep Tips
- Don’t lie in bed for prolonged periods of time in the morning because it may lead to lethargy.
- If unable to sleep, don’t spend too much time in bed. Get up, leave the bedroom and try to engage in other activities like reading a boring book or novel.
- Don’t dwell on the concerns and worries of the past, present or future before going to bed as they disturb sleep.
- Write down all your worries and problems on paper if they are disturbing night sleep. Try to go to bed in a peaceful state of mind.
- Try to visualize and concentrate on any thing which makes the mind free from worries.
- Sleep on your back as it allows all the internal organs to rest properly and it is the best position for relaxing.
- Don’t sleep on your stomach as it causes pressure on all internal organs including lungs which results in shallow breathing.
- Lie back and rub the stomach as it soothes the digestive system and helps in improving the function of digestive system and promotes good sleep.
- If your bed partner snores, sleep in a separate room or use ear plugs.
- Don’t suffer with pain. If pain is keeping you from sleeping, consult your healthcare professional about solutions.
- For a restful sleep, put a pillow under the knees to relieve lower back pressure.
- Stop the habit of watching the clock, counting the hours as it leads to lack of sleep. Turn the clock away from you so that you cannot see it.
- Avoid thriller, murder and suspense books and movies as they are stimulating and activate the brain.
- Avoid doing mental math as it keeps the brain thinking and disturbing the sleep.
- If sleepless nights or insomnia are consistent, change the sleep timings and consider going to bed later or getting up earlier.
- Always try to sleep at the same place regularly as the change of sleeping place may interfere with sleep.
- Close the eyes and roll it upwards three times. This happens naturally when falling asleep and evidently triggers some sleep chemicals in the body.
- To get a better sleep without the use of drugs, use light therapy. Light therapy consists of exposure to light for prescribed amount of time. It is used to promote normal sleep wake cycle and decreases sleep disturbances.
Consult a Healthcare Professional
- Consult a healthcare professional before using sleeping pills or over-the-counter medications.
- Don’t rely on sleeping pills as most are addictive.
- Make sure your medications do not have a side-effect of insomnia.
- If stress is keeping you awake, seek counseling and test cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
- Don’t neglect depression as depression can lead to lack of sleep. Consult your healthcare professional.
- If sleeping concerns continues, consult a healthcare professional to find out whether the sleep concern is due to any sleep disorder or physical concern.
Ways to Overcome Other Sleep Disorders
- Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which causes cessation of breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea should be treated by keeping the nasal passages open at night using nasal masks. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other sedatives and lose weight.
- If restless leg syndrome (RLS) is the cause for the interruption of good night sleep due to the uncomfortable sensations in the legs like crawling or creeping, walk or stretch at the beginning and end of the day, massage the calf and legs regularly when legs feel uncomfortable. Life style changes such as healthy diet and addition of a calcium and magnesium supplement such as IntraCal can help prevent RLS.
- If circadian rhythm disorder is the cause for interruption of good night sleep due to the disturbance of the body’s natural circadian rhythm, bright light therapy and melatonin may help.
- Have your thyroid checked. The thyroid gland is a major player in natural sleep. Healthcare professionals know this and may prescribe thyroid medications (such natural Nature-Throid) to patients who complain of constant insomnia.
- Adrenal issues. Those suffering from adrenal issues may have the symptom of waking up every morning around 3:00 AM and then have difficulty going back to sleep. Checking one’s cortisol levels through saliva can help in determining if one is suffering from adrenal fatigue. If you are constantly stressed or have just been through a stressful life event, it is wise to get your cortisol levels checked.
- Night sweats. Avoid caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, and unhealthy fats. Keep extra clothing by the side of the bed to avoid inconvenience and disturbance at the night. Women and men should consider performing a hormone saliva test to check hormone levels.
- If Fibromyalgia is the cause for a poor night’s sleep due to pain in the neck, shoulders, back and hands, it can be treated with exercises that stretch muscles, massage and heat applied to painful muscles.
- Exhaustion. Being exhausted doesn’t necessarily make people sleep better. Always make it a point to take some time to unwind from your daily activities. Just spending 30 minutes of quiet time might save you lots of tossing and turning later.
- GERD or Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease causes persistent heart burn and may be experienced while sleeping. Avoid spicy or acidic foods which cause heartburn or indigestion during the evening hours. Taking digestive enzymes such as Digestive Enzymes Ultra 30 minutes before eating as well as systemic enzymes such as Trevinol Professional Enzymes throughout the day on an empty stomach helps many to overcome GERD.
- Chronic illness such as Diabetes, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, etc. Exercise, healthy diet and quality supplements can help. Changing from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle is very important in obtaining a natural and restful sleep.