Sleep should come easily when exhaustion sets in, but often it is more like going to war with our own bodies. The worst part is that friendly fire is often the cause of sleep problems. Here are some strategies for overcoming them.
When it comes to breaking bad sleep habits, when we eat matters as much as what we eat. This is especially true for those who have acid reflux and other stomach ailments. The following items take longer to digest and should be avoided within four hours of bedtime.
— Spicy foods
— High-fat foods
— Large meals
— Caffeinated beverages
Caffeine can cause sleepless nights, and it can take the human body over six hours to process even half of the caffeine from a single serving of coffee. In addition to the usual caffeine-carrying suspects, some medications also contain caffeine. Read the label when in doubt or you may be the only one awake when the lights are out.
People often use a stiff drink to calm their worries and send them to sleep, but alcohol is known as the great pretender. It can make a person drowsy but often stops short of allowing the drinker to fall into a restful slumber. Cigarettes are also stimulants, enemies of sleep.
Parents are right to keep kids on a predictable schedule when it comes to sleep. For both children and adults, if a regular routine is not developed, sleep will become elusive. Try to form a habit of consistent bedtimes and morning wake-ups. The human body eventually becomes so used to the schedule sleep will come easily. Habits to avoid:
— Inconsistent bedtimes
— Sleeping in
— Inconsistent wake-up times
— Staying awake when tired
— Long naps during the day
Televisions and other electronics should be checked at the bedroom door. If a bedroom is used for purposes other than sleeping, our bodies don’t relax as fast upon entering the room. Not only are smartphones and electronics stimulating, but their screens also emit light that encourage us to stay awake. Try reading a book, instead.
Untimely good habits
Good habits can also interfere with our sleep. Exercising hard right before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep, so consider working out in the morning instead. Starting the day with exercise can lead to a deep more beneficial sleep at night. Avoid drinking water within an hour of bedtime, for fewer middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom. Shower in the morning instead of right before going to bed.