Changing your lifestyle
To treat insomnia, which can cause physical, mental and emotional problems, the first thing you must do is to adopt healthy habits and to create a positive environment for good sleep.
+ Changing daily habits doesn't happen over night. It's important to have a healthy outlook and consider the negative and positive results of your habits. This outlook will help you change habits and rest better.
To sleep better it's good to:
- • Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages for several hours before bedtime. Although alcohol may initially act as a sedative, it can interrupt normal sleep patterns. The same for cigarettes. You may want to consider quitting all together. Smoking congests the respiratory airways and inflames their mucous lining, obstructing the flow of oxygen and contributing to insomnia.
- • Do not overeat before going to bed, digestive process can disrupt the sleep cycle.
- • Do not get out of bed when you have trouble sleeping. Do not eat or drink when you can't sleep. It's best to stay lying down, in a warm and dark room.
- • Don't “catch up” on your sleep during the free days by sleeping more. Some people use their weekend to sleep-in till noon. This kind of behaviour changes your internal biological clock.
- • Don't go to bed when you have a lot on your mind. If you have a habit of making a to-do-list for the next day, make the list a few hours before going to bed, so you go to bed with a clear head.
- • Make your bedroom primarily a place for sleeping. It is not a good idea to use your bed for paying bills, doing work, etc. Help your body recognize that this is a place for rest or intimacy.
- • Don't get up earlier than you normally do. If you wake up before your normal time, you should try to go back to sleep, staying in a dark, warm room.
- • Wake up when you are supposed to, although you might want to go back to sleep. It's not recommended to take a nap during the day.
- • Organize your day so that you complete the most taxing activities during the morning or early afternoon, when you have more energy.
10 TIPS FOR A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
1. Sleep in a comfortable position.
2. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
3. Make sure your room is well ventilated and the temperature consistent.
4. Avoid noise and light.
5. Get a good pillow.
6. Do not use strong chemicals to clean in the bedroom.
7. Prohibit your dog or cat from sleeping in or on the bed.
8. Don't keep a lot of plants in the bedroom.
9. Never go to sleep without removing your makeup or perfume.
10. Avoid sleeping in recently painted rooms.
- • Expose yourself to sunlight soon after waking up.
- • Don't go to bed as soon as you feel tired. It's better to wait until your bedtime and don't alterate your sleep schedule.
- • Set a regular and active routine, with physical activities and social events, so that your body gets tired from pleasant activities while keeping your head clear.
- • Make sure to keep a regular schedule for meals, going to bed and waking up.
- • Don't eat or drink when you should be sleeping, it can send contradictory signals to the biological rhythms.
- • Exercise during the day, never close to bedtime. You should not exercise for four hours before going to bed.
- • While you change your routine you should use the part of your day that you are least tired for work, physical and intellectual activities. It's healthy to divide your day into three parts: work, rest and sleep. Over time, your work-rest-sleep routine will normalize to help you be more productive.
- • These tips will not create any side effects to your health.
INCORPORATE BEDTIME RITUALS
Taking a warm shower, a few minutes of reading, listening to soft music, lighting a candle or incense stick, drinking a cup of herbal tea or practicing relaxing techniques, cues your body that it's time to slow down and begin to prepare for sleep.
Avoid “over-the-counter” sleep aids, and make sure that your prescribed medications do not cause insomnia. There is little evidence that supplements and other over-the-counter “sleep aids” are effective. In some cases, there are safety concerns. Antihistamine sleep aids, in particular, have a long duration of action and can cause daytime drowsiness. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner about your concerns.
HOW LONG SHOULD I SLEEP?
Each person's sleep requirement is different. The average adult functions best with eight hours of sleep a night, but this varies with age and on an individual basis.
- • Newborns can sleep up to 20 hours a day.
- • Infants can sleep 16 hours a day.
- • 6 year old children can sleep 12 hours a day.
- • Adults can sleep 8 hours a day.
- • Seniors generally don't need more than 6 hours sleep a day.
A GOOD SLEEPING POSITION
The best position is lying on your back, with your back straight. It's not recommended to sleep on your belly, this position can affect your back posture. Also, to breathe in this position you have to keep your neck twisted for several hours. Sleeping on your side (specially on your right side) can be an intermediary option to help you rest.