As someone who has in the past dealt with sleep problems, I can assure you I’ve tried every trick in the book. This list is for those who haven’t yet done all the research. In short, it sums up what doctors and researchers have discovered through years of study. I have found several combinations of these tips work quite well for me and hope they will work for you as well.
1 – Avoid eating after six. Trying to sleep with a full belly just doesn’t work. I’ve actually gone farther and don’t eat anything after lunch. Instead, I have a good lunch and breakfast and call it good enough. Yes, I was hungry at first, but soon my body got used to it and now I find I don’t get hungry till I wake up the next morning. Not having to digest at night seems to help. It has also helped me to lose weight, another thing that helps you sleep better.
2 – Build a routine. Always go to bed at the same time. Even on weekends. And get up at the same time too, even if you feel like you didn’t get enough sleep. You’ll be tired all day, which is good for helping you to fall asleep that night. Also, eat at the same times if possible, and cut out liquids after four or five o’clock. Having to get up to pee isn’t conducive to getting good sleep. And don’t use your bed for anything besides sex and sleeping. You need to get your mind trained. Just like training animals. If you always do the same things before putting your head on that pillow, your brain will learn that it’s nighty-night time, and behave accordingly.
3 – Use noise. I’ve found that some noise is good for sleeping. I use the TV on a timer. I put it on the evening news, which is something that I know won’t get too loud or abrupt. It blocks out other noises that might wake me up. Again, it’s part of my routine. Also, I’ve found that reading is actually detrimental to both falling asleep and staying there. It makes my mind too busy. So, if you’re doing that, you might try stopping.
4 – Use stress reducers. The biggest factor in hindering falling asleep is stress. Or in other words, worrying about stuff as you lay there trying to sleep. There are literally millions of web pages and books and magazine articles out there on this. Find one that works for you and start using it. Personally, I’ve found meditation to be something that works pretty well for me. I do it just before getting in bed.
5 – Breathing techniques. Another thing I’ve found that works really well is using breathing techniques. What this means in short is, concentrating on your breathing. Take in a deep lungful of air, then let it out slowly. Do this over and over till you fall asleep. Not only will the increased oxygen cause you to get a little sleepy, but thinking about the breathing instead of all the stressful things that can keep you awake, will help you relax and let you fall gently into sleep. In effect, you’ll be boring yourself to sleep.
6 – Exercise. You know it’s true. You never hear about people that work hard physically all day ever having any sleep problems. Exercise makes you tired, the key ingredient in falling asleep. And also for staying there.
7 – Avoid alcohol. We’ve all heard about how little bits of alcohol actually make us sleepy. Well that may be true, but it sure doesn’t help us stay there. In fact, the opposite seems to be true for me. And not only that, drinking anything will make you have to pee, which will wake you up.
8 – Avoid caffeine and sweets. Again, another thing we’ve all heard about. But the sad fact is, it’s true. Personally, I suggest stopping drinking coffee all together. It won’t kill you. But barring that, try to stop at lunch at least. The same thing goes for sweets. Most chocolate has caffeine in it, and sugar too of course, both things that work against getting good sleep.
9 – Fantasize. This is one you may not have heard about, but it’s something I have found works for me. Pick a fantasy, something you like, then go there in your mind when you’re trying to fall asleep. It’s probably best to avoid the sexual fantasies though, because that might have the opposite effect. I’d suggest the kind where you imagine you’re magic or things you’d do if you won a ton of money. It’s all enough to get your mind off reality while you’re trying to sleep.
10 – Medications. There are of course drugs that are sold to help people sleep. Tylenol PM, or Advil PM. But these cannot be used for very long because of they’ll damage your body. One sleep med I’ve found is called Midnight Herbal Supplement. It doesn’t have the side effects and can be used pretty much as often as you like. It works great and is sold at most large grocery stores and pharmacies.
These ten tips are for those who either have trouble falling asleep or staying there. I’ve tried every one of them and have found most of them work pretty good for me. After years of chronic insomnia, I finally am able to get a pretty good night sleep almost every night. If you are someone suffering from sleep problems, I hope something on this list will help you. Good luck.