How to Sleep Tight Every Night


Do you have trouble falling asleep, or toss and turn in the middle of the night? Awaken too early, or find yourself not feeling refreshed in the morning? You are not alone: millions of people struggle with falling and staying asleep.
Unless you’re suffering from a serious sleep disorder, simply improving your daytime habits and creating a better sleep environment can set the stage for good sleep. By developing a good bedtime routine and designing a plan that works with your individual needs, you can avoid common pitfalls and make simple changes that bring you consistently better sleep.
The main problem : Alcohol, caffeine, smoking
Alcohol reduces overall quality of sleep. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the last few hours before bed.
Caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! If you rely on coffee, tea or caffeinated soda to keep you going during the day, consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.
Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.
Improving your daytime habits
How can what you do during the day affect your sleep at night? Better sleep starts with good daytime habits, from when (and how often) you exercise to what you eat and drink.
Regular exercise, aside from many other wonderful health benefits, usually makes it easier to fall asleep and sleep better. You don’t have to be a star athlete to reap the benefits-- as little as twenty to thirty minutes of activity helps. And you don’t need to do all 30 minutes in one session: break it up into five minutes here, ten minutes there. A brisk walk, a bicycle ride or a run is time well spent. However, be sure to schedule your exercise in the morning or early afternoon. Exercising too late in the day actually stimulates the body, raising its temperature. That’s the opposite of what you want near bedtime, because a cooler body temperature is associated with sleep. Don’t feel glued to the couch in the evening, though. Exercise such as relaxation yoga or simple stretching shouldn’t hurt.
Get some light to set your body clock
We all have an internal body clock that helps regulate sleep. This clock is sensitive to light and dark. Light tells your body clock to move to the active daytime phase. When you get up, open the shades or go outside to get some sunlight. If that’s not possible, turn on the lights to make your environment bright.
Napping can interfere with sleep
Perhaps the English had the right idea in having teatime in the late afternoon when you naturally get sleepy. Some people can take a short afternoon nap and still sleep well at night. However, if you are having trouble sleeping at night, try to eliminate napping. If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and sleep no longer than about thirty minutes.
Foods that help you sleep
Maybe a rich, hearty dinner, topped off with a big slice of chocolate cake might seem like the perfect way to end the day, but it’s wise not to eat a large meal within two hours of bed. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods as bedtime snacks.
However, a light snack before bed, especially one which contains the amino acid tryptophan, can help promote sleep. When you pair tryptophan-containing foods with carbohydrates, it helps calm the brain and allow you to sleep better. For even better sleep, add some calcium to your dinner or nighttime snack. Calcium helps the brain use and process tryptophan. On the other hand, you might want to avoid eating too much protein before bedtime - protein-rich foods contain tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates brain activity. Experiment with your food habits to determine your optimum evening meals and snacks.
Develop a relaxing bedtime routine
A consistent, relaxing routine before bed sends a signal to your brain that it is time to wind down, making it easier to fall asleep.
Start by keeping a consistent bedtime as much as possible. Then, think about what relaxes you. It might be a warm bath, soft music or some quiet reading. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, visualization or muscle relaxation not only tell your body it is time for sleep but also help relieve anxiety.
Avoid bright light or activities which cause stress and anxiety.

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