A n African proverb says: “No matter how rich a man may be he cannot sleep on two beds at one time”. But what happens if you are one of those people who never seems to be able to sleep – even on your one bed?

We all know the feeling of “having a bad night” or rolling around before you fall asleep, but for some people getting a good night’s sleep is a real problem. How you feel during your waking hours depends greatly on how well you sleep. Similarly, the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices can make a big difference to the quality of your nightly rest.

Good Quality Sleep

We all know to eliminate the obvious:
• late-night caffeine
• avoid scary movies just before bed
• don’t struggle with a to-do list before you switch off the light
• and try to make sure your bedroom is dark and comfortable

So why are you still tossing and turning?

You do know that lack of good quality sleep doesn’t just leave you slow and irritable the next day: Chronic, long-term insufficient sleep increases the risk of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, even weight gain.

Three Essential Sleep Strategies

Well-planned strategies are essential to deep, restorative sleep you can count on, night after night. By learning to avoid common enemies of sleep and trying out some good sleep techniques, you can discover your personal prescription to a good night’s rest.With good sleep, there is no one size fits all. It’s important to find the sleep strategies that work best for you.

Sleep Strategy 1 – How Much Sleep do you Need?

The first step to improving the quality of your rest is finding out how much sleep you need. How much sleep is enough? While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need at least eight hours of sleep each night to function at their best.

Sleep Strategy 2 – Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

Keep a regular sleep schedule. Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime. Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late.

Sleep Strategy 3 – Eat and Drink Right
Stay away from big meals at night. Try to make your last meal of the day earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich, spicy or fatty foods within two hours of bed. Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol won’t help you sleep. It may knock you out for a while, but alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. Cut down on caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.

Remember, caffeine is not just in coffee; it is in most teas and many soft drinks as well.Stop smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in many ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep, plus smokers experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.

Sleep Strategy 4 – Limit Technology in the Bedroom
Your bedroom is for sleep and sex. Not for business, socialising and entertainment.According to Business Insider, “many people watch TV as they fall asleep or text while they lie in bed at night, but these habits could prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. And most people already feel sleep-deprived. In a National Sleep Foundation study, 63% of those surveyed said they didn’t get enough sleep.” For a better quality sleep, switch off or ban mobile phones in the bedroom. Tablets, TV and games can also disturb sleep. Try to keep your bedroom a tech free zone. Ebook readers like Amazon’s Kindle have a special screen that is not luminous, so it is fine to take to bed with you.

If you’ve tried the tips above and are still struggling with sleep problems, you may have a sleep disorder that requires professional treatment. Please see your local doctor or clinic.


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