Sleep Tips - Chez Goodman 
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Sleep Tips

These are tips to help you sleep that I've acquired from experience and various sources over the years. The goals in trying to sleep well are to train your mind and body to sleep well and to ensure that the environment is one conducive to sleep. Please note that I'm not an expert: Use these tips at your own risk.

Value sleep.
Sleep is important. Make it a goal to sleep well and give it the importance it deserves.

Sleep in a comfortable bed.
Since sleep is important, and we spend 1/3 of our lives doing it, the right bed is the right decision. A firm bed is better for your back and supports your body to help it relax.

Make the bedroom conducive to sleep.
Keep it quiet, cool and dark. If you can't sleep in a quiet area, try earplugs, or use a white noise generator (like a fan), or soft music to cover background noise. Some sources claim the optimal sleeping temperature to be between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reduce stress.
It's hard to rest when your mind is abuzz. Try to relax for at least an hour before bedtime. Resolve to stop worrying about life before then each night. Watching TV or reading a book just before bed helps divert the mind from worries.

Go to sleep the same time every night.
The mind and body are very sensitive to daily cycles. Going to sleep at the same time every night trains your body and mind to expect to sleep. If possible, go to sleep and wake up the same time every day, including weekends.

Prepare for sleep the same way every night.
Doing the same things before bedtime train the mind to get ready to sleep. Avoid lying down if you're not ready to go to sleep. If you only lay down when you want to sleep, it's another signal that sleep is desired.

Use the bed just for sleep.
If you lie in bed longer than a half hour trying to fall asleep, get out of bed and do something quiet and non-stimulating. When you feel tired again, go back to bed.

Empty yourself before bed.
The need to relieve yourself can cause discomfort and interrupt the night's sleep. Take care of this before bedtime.

Don't go to bed hungry or thirsty.
Try to eat and drink sufficient amounts at dinnertime so that you aren't hungry or thirsty just before bedtime. If necessary, have a small, light snack or take a few sips of water before bedtime to avoid discomfort.

Avoid quantities of food or fluid before sleep.
Intake of energy sources can make it difficult to relax and go to sleep, and the need to eliminate them later can interrupt the night's sleep and make you uncomfortable. Avoid fatty foods that digest slower and interrupt sleep. Avoid spicy, greasy or heavy foods that may not digest well and make your stomach uncomfortable.

Avoid stimulants.
Don't drink coffee, sodas or eat chocolate or foods that may be caffeinated within six hours of bedtime.

Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol before bedtime can interfere with sleeping all night.

Stop smoking.
Smokers have trouble falling asleep and wake more often.

Avoid physical activity or other excitement before bedtime.
Adrenaline and activity keep the body from being ready to sleep.

Exercise regularly.
Exercise relieves stress and tension so your mind can rest, and tires your body so that it wants to sleep. But avoid it just prior to bedtime.

Get the right amount of sleep.
Sleeping too long can make it hard to fall asleep the next night. Sometimes sleeping less can let you sleep better. Try waking up a half hour earlier until you get to the point where you fall asleep easily at night.

Don't nap.
Napping before bedtime can reduce the need to sleep, and makes it harder to get a good night's rest. Unless necessary for safety reasons, avoid napping if possible.

Don't rely on sleep aids.
Using chemical aids or other aids can make it difficult to sleep when you stop taking them and can lead to a dependence on them.

Try to stay asleep.
If you do wake in the middle of the night, avoid talking, opening the eyes (don't look at the clock!) or getting out of bed. It wakes up the body and tells it to start the day.

Sleep the way you wake.
The body position you wake up in is often your most comfortable one. Try going to sleep in the same position.

Use the right pillow.
Use a pillow that's low enough to support your head without bending the neck. This will help prevent neck and shoulder aches.

Sleeping babies.
My wife tried something that seemed to work well. Before our daughter was born, my wife would try to keep her active during the day. If it seemed she was too quiet for a long period of time, my wife would jostle her gently so that even before birth she would get used to sleeping at night.

A tip we followed after our daughter was born was to keep nightly feedings short and sweet. When she woke in the night, my wife would feed her calmly and quietly and put her right back to bed so she wouldn't look forward to playtime during sleep time.

Note: Once again, let me say that these are guidelines you use at your own discretion. They work for us. Your mileage may vary. Sleep well!

Copyright © 2001 David K. Goodman. All Rights Reserved.
Previous | Top | Home | Search | Bottom | Next  Updated 7/9/2002