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The Zzzzzs Have It

September 30, 2013

Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Restful Sleep

The weather changing usually helps me sleep like a baby, but the last few nights my body has had a rough time deciding if it is hot or cold, most often, switching back and forth between the two – causing me to sleep restlessly. And I’ve noticed the difference in the way I get through my days because of it, so it has me thinking.

With the hustle and bustle of life and the constantly quickening pace all around us, you may feel as if you truly don’t have enough time to do everything you need to do in a day. And if you’re like me, one of the first things that you compromise when this happens is your sleep. The type and amount of sleep we get impacts how we function throughout our day. It affects our mood and our attitude and over time, it can impact our relationships with others and with ourselves.

We’ve Heard it Before – and it is True

Develop your own sleep regiment. There are ways to learn to avoid sleep destroyers and develop a variety of healthier behaviors that help promote sleep. By experimenting with different sleep strategies, you can determine what works best for you.

To begin with, get a realistic assessment of how much you currently sleep. There are always some exceptions to the rules, but the average adult requires at least eight hours of sleep each night to be their best during their waking time.

Keep it Regular

Sleeping Baby

When it comes to sleep, consistency is key. Developing and maintaining your own body’s cycle for sleeping time and waking time is one of the most important ingredients in healthy sleep. This means going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. It may not be easy to achieve, but the reward for your effort is feeling more refreshed and being more productive.

• Bedtime – Start off by picking a time when you are normally tired. This will help you avoid having to toss and turn and fight falling asleep. It may be a bit more difficult to stick with the same time frame on weekends, but it is important to keep it consistent. If you need to make an adjustment to the time, make the change in small, manageable increments no larger than 15 minutes.
• Wake up time – One way to check if you are getting enough sleep is to put your body to the wake-up test. When we get the right amount of sleep, we should be able to wake up without the aid of an alarm or another person. Try to resist the temptations to sleep in on weekends. Keep wake-up time the same all week long.
• Recharge with naps – If you need to ‘catch up’ on sleep, try napping to make up a few hours rather than sleeping late. Early afternoon naps are the best to assure you avoid insomnia. Also, keeping naps to no more than thirty minutes at a time can help you recharge without making insomnia worse.
• Avoid the dinner drowsies – Many of us get sleepy before bedtime and since we are relaxed on the couch, fall asleep for a while before ‘lights out.’ Fight it by moving around. Use a few minutes to get yourself ready for the next day or to take the dishes out of the dishwasher. It is smarter than giving in, waking up later at night and then fighting to get back to sleep.

Alarm Clock

A sure-fire way to learn your best schedule
Hide the alarm clock and make sure you go to sleep the same time every night. Trust your body to wake you up naturally. It may take a week or two at the most, but you will learn your body’s sleep-wake rhythm.

Respect yourself with the right amount of sleep and reap the benefits of the most productive you ever!

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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