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Everyone wants to sleep all night without getting up, laying back down, and getting up again. We want our babies to sleep well too so we can get our sleep to be restful when we get up in the morning.
Have you stopped drinking after 6 p.m. caffeine and all liquids? Is your bedroom comfortable and dark? Do you have the best pillow for your spine and neck alignment? Are too many things on your mind? Avoid alcohol, but do not have an empty stomach. People do not get to sleep when they are hungry. Be sure your bedroom is quiet and keep you house lights dimmer rather than brighter in the evening. This helps you sleep better by the brain producing melatonin to induce drowsiness and then sleep. If you take naps during the day, or on weekends, limit those to 30 minutes or under. Sometimes naps interfere with your body’s natural clock (circadian rhythm) and you cannot get to sleep at night.
1. Kick the Pets out of Bed
It is well known in studies that dogs sniff, scratch, and yes, snore to keep you awake. Cats prowl the house at all hours of the night and that can be disturbing. They jump up and down on your bed and that can annoy and distract a light sleeper. Their dander can be irritating if you suffer from allergies. However, if you don’t have any of these problems with your pet, then by all means, cuddle up to it and have pleasant dreams.
People who do shift work might find it difficult to sleep during daylight hours, so be sure your sleeping area is dark and quiet. You can also use a sleep mask for even more darkness.
2. Deep Breathing
When you breathe in deeply, your brain releases endorphins, the body’s built-in narcotic for getting to sleep. Deep breathing relaxes you, reducing your blood pressure and heart rate. Simply inhale through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, then exhale through your mouth counting to 5. Do this 8 times and increase to 15 or 20 and you will fall to sleep.
3. Stay in Bed if You Wake
If you wake up to go to the bathroom, or simply wake up for no reason, if you stay in bed you will fall back to sleep. Do deep breathing again, meditate, visualize, but relax and you will get back to sleep.
4. White Noise and Sound Machines
White noise and sound machines are helpful and relaxing for getting to sleep quickly. They mask sounds and some have prerecorded sounds of waterfalls, rain, and other soothing sounds from nature to include digital clocks and timers.
5. Time for Bed
Keep to the same time when you go to bed. If it is off by even a half hour, you will lay there and wonder why you are not going to sleep. Get up and go to bed, even on weekends, at the same time. This is the most important thing to improve your sleep.
6. Chamomile Tea
Drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea, a half hour before bed will indeed put you to sleep. It has no caffeine, and will sooth and relax you before you hit the bed. It does indeed work!
7. Essential Oil Diffusers
An aromatherapy diffuser with sleep benefits using 100% pure essential oils, such as relaxing lavender will send you off to a peaceful sleep. Rose, rosemary, citrus, lily, and sandalwood are relaxing, and some like peppermint while others say peppermint keeps them awake. Try this for you and your kids to unwind and fall asleep.
It’s best not to exercise within 4 hours of when you go to bed. Sleep will not happen when your body is revved up from cardio or aerobic exercises. Your brain will release melatonin and you will become sleepy, but not until you cool down and you’re not hyped up from exercising.
Sodas, coffee, and tea, including chocolate have the stimulant caffeine that will stay in your body for 6 to 8 hours after consuming it. You might fall asleep, but probably not stay asleep within the first hour you go to bed. It can prevent falling asleep altogether for several hours.
When you drink wine, liquor, or beer, the alcohol levels will start to drop in your blood. This drop tells your body to be alert and wakeful. If you have had a drink with dinner or friends, do not have another drink for 2 hours before your bedtime. If you drink coffee after alcohol, you will have a double whammy and might be up all night.
11. Bedtime Snacks
Carbohydrates, calcium, or a small amount of protein such as peanut butter, contain the amino acid tryptophan that enhances serotonin for calmness and feeling drowsy. Eat your snacks about an hour before you go to bed to fall asleep easily.
Turkey has tryptophan and is a great choice for a snack. Put it on a slice of whole wheat or rye bread or toast and enjoy. A small bowl of whole grain cereal with a half or whole banana and milk will make you feel drowsy. Peanut butter with honey on toast is a yummy bedtime snack and so are yogurt and fruit.
12. Bedroom Temperature
Ideally, people sleep better with the thermostat set to 68-degrees. Some can sleep up to 75-degrees, but that is normally too hot. If you feel cool under the sheets and covers, that will produce melatonin for promoting sleep. You should feel comfortable the way you like it to get to sleep.
13. Sleep Time for Babies and Toddlers
Two rituals for bonding and having your baby relax are a warm bath and massage before bedtime. This is a wonderful routine for babies and toddlers from 7 to 36-months old. Babies are sensitive to touch and smell that will get him or her ready for a good night’s sleep. Use a baby wash with a soft scent. It has been proven that babies bathed with a fragrance cry 25% less than babies bathed in plain water and soap.
Your quiet time with your baby will calm his or her breathing and your final cuddle before laying your baby down for the night is a spiritual closeness you both will carry with you forever.