Health: Can't Sleep?

Society | April 30, 2004, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

The frustration of tossing and turning all night long is something that many of us can relate to and one in three of us are likely to suffer from occasional sleeplessness at some time in our lives.

Making simple changes to your evening routine, being aware of the impact of the food you eat, changing your bedroom environment and monitoring your daily routines are some of the suggestions to help you achieve a better night's sleep.

Try to establish a routine of getting up and going to bed at the same time every day (even on weekends). This can help to condition the mind and body to sleep at a regular time

Your room should be well ventilated, neither too hot nor too cold and also as dark as possible.

Try to exercise regularly. Taking a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk each day helps the body tire so that it is ready for sleep in the evening. Avoid exercising close to bedtime however, as this stimulates the body to stay awake.

If the environment is noisy, try using ear plugs to help you doze off.

Steer clear of stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine for six hours before bedtime. Caffeine stimulates the body's adrenaline production making you feel more edgy and alert.

Nicotine stimulates the nervous system and smokers tend to have lighter, more fitful sleep. Although alcohol makes you feel drowsy, you are more likely to have a fitful and fragmented sleep after drinking. In addition, alcohol may suppress REM sleep.

Try not to watch TV before going to bed, or if you can't sleep. It stimulates the brain and the flickering images also stimulate the nervous system.

Try to minimise stress and anxiety. Avoid arguments at bedtime. Stress excites your nervous system and sends messages to the adrenal glands which release adrenaline - the substance that keeps you alert and awake.

And if you can't sleep, try to avoid looking at the bedroom clock!

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