Do you struggle with insomnia? You are not alone. So many people have trouble getting a good night rest. Like exercise and a healthy diet, sleep is an essential component of mental and physical health. A solid night sleep is important for restoring energy, repairing injuries or illness, growth, concentration, memory and mood.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following hours of sleep are recommended:
School age children: 9-11 hours
Teenagers: 8-10 hours
Adults: 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
In order to get a better night’s sleep, it is recommended that we pay attention to improving our sleep habits, known as sleep hygiene. Here are some helpful suggestions.
1. Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time. The body tends to get used to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed.
2. Avoid napping during the day. If you do choose to nap, make sure you limit the nap to 20-30 minutes.
3. Exercise during the day but not before bed.
4. At least an hour before you go to bed, turn off all electronics and practice relaxation techniques such as guided imagery, yoga stretches, meditation, prayer and deep breathing exercises.
5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol 4 to 6 hours before you go to bed.
6. Use comfortable bedding and a good cool temperature to keep your bedroom well ventilated.
7. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
8. Reserve your bed for sleep, sex and sickness only.
9. Try a light snack before bed. Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help your insomnia..
10. Try and not toss and turn in bed. If you think it’s been more than 30 minutes, get out of bed and do a relaxing activity such as light reading.