Sleep Well- Facts and Tips

Listen to your body, not your alarm clock:  We all need certain hours of rest; some people need more, some less.  The fact that on weekdays people are awakened by an alarm clock, means that we are interrupting our body’s effort to get the amount of rest needed.  Although it is quite impossible to change the time we need to get up in the morning, we can try to go to bed early enough so that we can get up in the morning without the help of an alarm clock.

Use your bed only to sleep:  The bed has become our society’s couch.  We sleep, read, listen to music, watch t.v., cry, daydream, rest and sometimes even eat food.  By doing so, we make our mind forget what a bad is actually for.  Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature throughout the night.  Ear plugs and eye shades are ok.  If we get into the habit of using the bed exclusively for sleep, our mind will automatically say, “Hey, it’s time to sleep!” the moment we lay ourselves to bed.

Get up and go to bed at the same time:  To make your body get used to a certain rhythm, you should condition it by going to bed at the same time every day and getting up automatically every morning.  Chances that you will have problems sleeping will be reduced.

Exercise in the morning and in the early afternoon:  Apart from contributing to our health, exercise during the daytime also improves the quality of our stage-4 sleep.  A greater amount of stage-4 makes us feel fresh and relaxed the next morning.  So get your sport shoes out because you now have another reason to exercise.

Don’t exercise in the evening:  Although exercise is good for your health, it is not advisable to do strenuous physical efforts near bedtime. It would be as though your metabolism were still in fourth gear and programmed to “daytime activity” while you would want to be in a “Parking” gear.

Stop looking at that clock!:  Stop looking at the clock, it is a well-known and bed habit.  For some reason you have problems falling asleep and instead of doing something good, you do the worst thing possible.  You look at the clock on your bedside table just to realize that another 30 minutes have passed.  The worries created by knowing what time it is just contribute to your sleeplessness.  Next time the clock is stealing your sleep, simply turn it around so that you cannot see it.

No alcohol prior to bedtime:  Alcohol is known as a calming drug and many people use it as a sleep promoter.  In fact, many English Physicians used to prescribe alcohol for older patients with sleep problems.  May help you fall asleep more easily, but more than just one gram of alcohol per kilogram of body weight will negatively interfere with your sleep rhythm.

No Caffeine from the early afternoon until bedtime.

Naps:  When tiredness sets in between noon and 4 P.M. an occasional nap may be the right quick fix solution.  Please note that a nap does not substitute a good night’s sleep and therefore should not become a habit or longer than an hour to avoid slipping into a REM sleep.  However instead of beating your tiredness by napping try to find out if anything is interfering with the quality if your night’s sleep or if you lack quantity.  Experts generally advise to avoid naps when possible but if necessary, do a 30-40 minute so called “power nap.”

Keep the bedroom dark, quiet and cool:  The only way for our body to adapt to the ambient temperature while we enter deep sleep states is to perspire or activate our metabolism.  We should be sure that our room is neither to warm or too cold when we go to bed.  Not doing so might stress our body instead of giving it a possibility to rest.  Although our hearing senses are less sensitive during deep sleep phases, noise could disturb our sleep while we are trying to fall asleep or might interrupt it during one of the few stage-1 REM Phases we have every night, in which our senses are more sensitive to external stimuli.

Eat a light snack not too much food:  Food with Tryptophan, an amino acid, is thought to produce sleeping.  Some foods with Tryptophan include, milk, turkey, fish and bananas.

Don’t worry too much:  If you cannot fall sleep for quite a while, don’t let it eat itself into your mind.  Instead, stop trying and do some simple activity such as reading, listening to your radio or practicing relaxation breathing techniques.

For more tips and information contact Sleep Well at 992-2660 or on the web at