I sometimes have problems getting a good night’s sleep and I often feel tired the next day. Do you have any suggestions?
A century ago people averaged nine hours of sleep each night, a luxury by today’s standards. Most adult Americans now call seven hours of sleep a good night. Although we’ve adapted, our bodies are still ruled by certain cycles that keep us awake and alert or asleep and inert. It’s important to learn your body’s natural sleep cycles to avoid sleep deprivation. Get to know your own sleep patterns and establish a regular routine. This will help you feel refreshed and relaxed each morning and able to function effectively during the day.
When I feel myself getting sleepy at night, I try to catch the “sleep wave” before it’s gone. If I fight it and try to stay up longer, I sometimes lose the wave and find myself staring at the television or the clock knowing I should have followed my body’s natural tendencies. Don’t be a victim of bad sleep habits. I encourage you to get a good night’s sleep by following these suggestions:
Turn off the television: Don’t fall asleep with the TV on. Force yourself to turn it off after a favorite show ends. If you’re not sleepy, pick up a good book (break a bad habit by creating a good one!).
Don’t eat late: Have an absolute mealtime cutoff (I recommend no later than 9pm.). You’re better off skipping a late meal and eating a good breakfast in the morning than being kept awake as your body tries to digest a late-night meal.
Allow fresh air inside: Oxygen is very conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. Leave a bedroom window open for fresh air and circulation (or open a window an hour or two before bedtime and close it before going to sleep).
Use natural sleep aids: Soothing herbs and fragrance help encourage sleepiness. A drop of lavender oil on a light bulb softly scents a bedroom when a lamp is turned on low. A cup of hot chamomile tea relaxes the body. Calming herbs (rose petals, jasmine, lavender, lemon balm and geranium) combine to make a sleep sachet to place under a pillow.
Turn down the volume: Eliminate noises that interfere with a good night’s sleep (or disguise them with machines that create “white noise”). Try playing the sounds of nature (ocean waves, bird songs, waterfalls and so on). These “natural lullabies” are also good meditation tools, helping you concentrate on the “voices” of nature rather than the problems of the day.
Invite enjoyment: Indulge in bed linens (I prefer pale colors) that make your bedroom a pretty place to be and encourage enjoyment of the room itself. I recommend cotton sheets with a minimum thread count of 200. Choose high-quality pillows and mattress pad for ultimate comfort.