Sleep is like a tonic for life; if we've had enough sleep, we feel great and can face the day with equanimity. If we haven't, everything seems more difficult and stressful. Use these five tips to sleep more peacefully and consistently through the night and wake up refreshed for each new day:
1. Improve your sleeping habits and environment. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep; do not do work there or use a TV or computer. Windows should have thick curtains and shades to ensure total darkness and block the morning sunlight during sleeping hours. Strive to keep a regular bedtime (even on weekends) and avoid caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods in the hours before bedtime.
2. Have a bedtime ritual. A relaxing bedtime ritual can do wonders for your sleep patterns. Listening to soft music, taking a bubble bath, and reading before bed can have a relaxing and sedating effect. Meditation and prayer can also promote relaxation and make getting to sleep -- and staying asleep -- easier.
3. Exercise daily. Getting some physical activity each day can help you to sleep more soundly through the night. People who are too sedentary can feel sluggish during the day and/or not tired when it's time for bed. Exercising in the fresh air is even better, as this can help to promote very deep and restorative sleep.
4. Manage/reduce stress. Stress can be a major sleep inhibitor. Take steps to reduce stress on a daily basis; exercising regularly, getting out into nature, spending time with loved ones, meditating and doing activities you enjoy can all help to reduce your stress levels.
5. Get treatment for physical/clinical issues. A genuine sleep disorder like RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) or sleep apnea as well as chronic pain or illness can all disrupt your sleep patterns. Clinical depression or anxiety can also keep you up at night. Address and manage any clinical issues with the help of a medical professional.
Sleep is crucial to our physical and emotional well-being; use these five tips to sleep more deeply and enjoy a higher quality of life.