Thursday, June 4, 2020

7 Ways to Improve Your Sleep.

November 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Getting a good—or even a decent—night of sleep can be hard for some. I know for me; there were times when I couldn’t rest soundly if the room temperature isn’t right. When I can sleep, I might not sleep throughout the night. Conditions change and there I am either sitting up and reading or going outside for a bit in the early morning. Sleep can impact your physical and mental health as well as throw you off for the day ahead. Here are seven things to help improve your sleeping habits.

Structure Your Day

This can be hard to do. Just like a live event: the card is subject to change. You might have your day set up for specific tasks, work, recreation, and so on only for it to be thrown off by the unexpected. I’m someone who isn’t a fan of surprises or the unexpected.

When random things hit, I’m sour. It doesn’t throw my whole day off but it’s definitely an inconvenience. Depending on major an inconvenience it was, I’m unlikely to lose any sleep over it. However, not everyone can get over such randomness. That said, setting up your day and going through it accordingly can be the road to a sound sleep at the end of the day.

Most of our days are already set up to a degree. You get up, get prepared—often in the same routine each day—then you bounce off to work. That’s a chunk of your day already gone. The tricky part comes for those work at night. If you have errands you typically do during the day, those are shifted to the morning or afternoon depending on how fatigue has set in.

At that point, you’re basically structuring your day towards getting sleep sometime in the afternoon and waking up in the evening in time for work. It can seem alien for a lot of folks who tend to move through tasks in the morning or are day people—like yours truly—but people have done this forever.

In short, look at your day, see what task or activity will take up a chunk of the day, and build day around getting rest to tackle that task. If it’s going into work, build up to a period of rest before work but leave yourself a gap for prep.

Cut Out Some Naps

I’m not a big nap person. They occasionally sneak up on me but I don’t set out to take them. I don’t sit there bored and decide “Well, I guess I’ll take a nap.” Oh no, they tend to catch me unawares. The thing about naps is that if you had plans for the day or errands to do, they can knock you off course. Not only that but they impact your sleep.

It might be hard to fend off naps but try to cut a few out. You don’t have to quick naps all the way, that’s not happening. But if you’re someone who takes naps on a regular basis and find that you can’t sleep at night or most of the night, developing more hobbies during the hours that you nap can help.

That means not sitting and watching hours of old, black and white TV. I love some Perry Mason and I Love Lucy as well—local TV showed those two for years—but eventually you’re going to nod off. Before you know it, you’ve lost two or three hours. So, occupy your mind with something during hours you feel you should be up.

I will say that power naps—those shorter, one-hour-at-most naps—won’t hurt your rest much if at all. It’s the long, marathon naps that will throw things off.

Change Up Your Eating Habits

As you know, what you eat before bed can impact your sleep. Snack on something that doesn’t agree with you and you’re likely to be up and down when you should be snoozing. Another thing to consider is when you eat. If you eat a meal close to bedtime, you could be messing with your sleep. A midnight snack might just have the same effect.

While eating better will definitely help your sleep, your energy during the day, and overall health, just watching when you eat can help significantly.

Avoid Drinking Before Bed

No, not just alcohol but drinking in general. If you drink something before laying down for bed, you’re going to be back up later on and that’s interfering with your period of rest. It’s definitely hard not to drink anything before bed because no one wants to hit that pillow dry mouthed and dry throated. The idea itself doesn’t seem appealing.

That said, if you can curb drinking before packing it in, you will be closer to an uninterrupted night of sleep.

Make Sure You Have A Good Environment

Sometimes you just need to make sure the place you’re in sleeping is great. This can be the room itself, the lighting or lack thereof, or just temperature. While it might be normal to sleep with the lights off, some people sleep better with the light on or dimmed lights. The light of the television is good for some people. Others like for the room to be cool. There are some folks who sleep best at a slant in the bed or having the bed angled in the corner. Your mattress plays a critical part too. Heavy sleepers tend to prefer a thicker mattress while a thin mattress is more suitable for light sleepers.

As for me, I sleep best when it’s pitch black, no television, cold, and at the foot of the bed instead of the head. When it’s warm or bright, I’m not sleeping at my best unless I get caught by a nap. It’s different for everyone so try moving some things around in the room and seeing what lighting works for you.

NyQuil Podcasts and Ambient Sound

A “NyQuil podcast” is what I call a podcast that has the intent of helping you sleep. Sleep With Me is a show where the host goes into a TV show or just their day in such a tone and delivery that you’ll fall slap to sleep while listening. It could be something you enjoy like Game of Thrones, the way he talks about it will have you drifting off. Ambient sound is another thing to consider.

The Calm series that is advertised is a popular example of this and has stuff for sleep or meditation. However, there are a ton of free ones you can use. Hell, going to “ambient sound” on YouTube or finding an ambient sound podcast could help.

For example, if you get some of your best sleep when it’s raining or storming outside, you can find ambient sound for that in YouTube and either play it with earbuds or in the room.

Check With A Doctor

As with any issue, consulting a doctor can help with nipping the problem in the bud. With a list of symptoms impacting your sleep and knowing your routine, a doctor could pinpoint the problem. A sleep test will confirm or deny it’s not a serious but manageable problem such as sleep apnea.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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