Sleep is an important part of our life and we can not enjoy anything without sleep. We know the eight laws of health: Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest (Sleep) and Trust in God. All are said to be equally important for good health. So it is important to know the tips for healthy sleep habits. A direct link is seen between insufficient sleep and some serious hazards which include: heart diseases, diabetes and obesity and many other health problems. Lower testosterone level in men is associated with impaired sleep. Further, Jodi A. Mindell, the author of “Sleep Deprived No More” says, “Sleep loss affects how you think; it impairs your cognition, your attention, and your decision-making”. According to sleep disorder specialists, sleeping well is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Sleep-deprivation results in wide-ranging issues such as impaired memory, reduced alertness, slower reaction time, less patience, decreased work productivity, strained relationships, weakened immune system, lack of energy, irritability, greater risk of diabetes and obesity and high blood pressure. Fortunately, there are ways to remedy this situation. Here are the tips for healthy sleep habits.
Tips for healthy sleep habits:
1. Maintain a sleep schedule:
Establish and maintain a regular sleep schedule and stick to the schedule you can maintain. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Avoid sleeping in for longer periods on the weekends because if you sleep on Sunday morning for a longer period, you are likely to toss and turn on Sunday night. That in turn, sets you up for sleep disorder as you begin your work.
“Getting up at the same time every day, including weekends, is probably the most important step towards establishing a good sleep pattern”, says James Walsh, executive director of the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield Missouri, “because regular exposure to light in the morning is what sets the brain’s alarm clock”. He points out that light exposure helps the body regulate itself into a rhythm by establishing the time to wake up (when it’s light) and the time to become drowsy again (after dark).
2. Practice Emotional and Spiritual Stress Management:
It is hard to rest well if you are worried and stressed about some aspect of your life or work. Learn some stress management techniques to help you cope with daily stress.
One suggestion that sleep experts offer is to schedule “worry time” early in the evening before retiring. They recommend a 30-minute period to write out worries on a paper, along with possible solutions. This simple exercise relaxes the mind, permitting better sleep.
Spiritual stress management is another step to take when you are stressed or anxious. Explain your concern to God in prayer. Seek His wisdom and direction and then trust that He will look after you.
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3. Modify your sleep environment:
Try to turn your bedroom a place of rest, not a place to work and watch TV. Some people do have the tendency to turn their bedroom into a place of entertainment and do not turn the office work away from the bedroom. This type of environment in bedroom is not congenial for peaceful sleep because in this environment sleeping becomes less and less refreshing and more and more restless.
Sleep experts advise people to study physical environment of their bedroom. One should analyze the vital points that if his bedroom is too hot or too cold, the mattress is too hard or too soft, traffic roaring is in the street outside the window of the bedroom, light is too much coming into bedroom even at night. After analyzing these vital points which are not congenial for peaceful environment in the bedroom, he will make the necessary changes that will facilitate healthy rest.
4. Avoid Caffeine:
Caffeine, which is found in coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and some teas can interrupt sleep. It is recommended that avoiding caffeine not only in the evening but even in the mid-afternoon, because caffeinated drinks consumed will continue stimulating the body for up to eight hours. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Their sleep is more affected by taking caffeine.
5. Quit Smoke:
Besides being a source of cancer, the nicotine contained in tobacco products stimulates brain-wave activity in addition to increasing high blood pressure and heart rate. All of these make it difficult to sleep soundly. The advice from sleep disorder specialist is that if you smoke, then quit.
6. Avoid Alcohol:
Someone may suggest that if you take an alcoholic drink before bedtime that will help you sleep. But Sonia Ancoli-Israel, a sleep researcher at the University of California at San Diego and author of “All I Want Is A Good Night’s Sleep” says, “Alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, but several hours later, when the effect wears off, it starts disrupting your sleep, increasing your wakefulness during the second half of the night.”
7. Do not use sleeping pills:
Some people turn to prescription sleeping pills. These do not solve the sleeping problem in the long run and once you start taking them, you can get hooked. If you and your doctor decide you need a sleeping pill, use one that is short-acting, does not leave you with a hangover, works quickly and does not accumulate in the body. Do not take it for more than three weeks, and never borrow one from a friend.
If you do not feel any improvement after trying these tips for healthy sleep, check with your physician. He or she may discover that you have a physical disorder that is interfering with your sleep. For example, chronic pain from arthritis or an injury can keep you awake. So will shortness of breath due to lung or heart disease. Also common cause of insomnia is an overactive thyroid gland that constantly revs up body metabolism. You can ask for a referral to a sleep specialist who may be able to lead you to a good night’s sleep.