Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health, brain power, and even a decent sex drive.
For years doctors and sleep experts have been telling us that over time sleep deprivation leads to serious health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Sleep deprivation impairs problem solving and reasoning abilities, and it slows down attention and alertness. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash related deaths a year in the U.S.
Without enough sleep, the body becomes tired and the mind weary. This can also play havoc with the person’s sex drive. Many people find themselves raiding the refrigerator when they can’t sleep, which causes a cycle of weight gain, depression, and lack of energy that equals to lower libido.
A full and restful night’s sleep is vital. But too often you find yourself having trouble falling asleep or falling back to sleep if you wake in the middle of the night. Here are eight tips to help you obtain that quality sleep you need:
Write a to-do list of what you need to accomplish tomorrow before heading off to bed. Once the list is complete, allow yourself to stop thinking about tomorrow. Tell yourself that whatever is on your mind is on the list and will be taken care of tomorrow, not tonight, and then let it go.
Turn off the electronics. If you have a television in the bedroom, move it. The nightly news is not fodder for quality sleep. Turn off all other electronics about an hour before your planned time for sleep. Checking email right before bed can get your mind in a whirl with rampant thoughts about the messages instead of relaxing your mind in preparation for a good night’s sleep.
Listen to soothing music or white noise. Block out the noise in your mind by listening to quiet music or a soothing sound such as falling rain or ocean waves. Numerous selections are available as MP3 downloads or CDs.
Listen to a guided meditation to help you relax. Again excellent selections are available as MP3 downloads or CDs. Choose one that is appealing to you. The meditation leader’s voice should sound soothing to you and the meditation should be one that helps you relax.
Practice this relaxation technique. Take a couple deep breaths, breathing air into the lungs, and then releasing. Starting with your feet, silently tell your feet to relax. Imagine them becoming filled with air and floating. Next, slowly move up your body and tell your ankles to relax. See them filling with air and floating. Continue up your body to your legs, trunk, and so on until you reach the top of your head. Now, imagine your whole body is floating and relaxing on a cloud of air. Often, you will become so relaxed that you will fall asleep before completing this technique.
Repeat a simple sound. Choose a quiet and soothing sound such as “ah” “hum,” or “oh.” Repeating one of these sounds over and over until you drift off keeps your concentration on relaxing instead of worries and everything you have to do tomorrow.
Use aromatherapy. Fill your pillow with a sachet of lavender or spray a lavender scent in your bedroom. Aroma therapists recommend lavender as a sleep aid. You can also take a bath in lavender bath salts shortly before bed.
Clear the bedroom. It almost goes without saying that quality sleep requires a darkened, quiet room. However, did you know that clutter and pets can also interfere with quality sleep. So, clear away the clutter, turn off the light, quiet the noise, and well, at least think about letting Fido and Fluffy sleep on the other side of the bedroom door.