Proven Ways To Help Fall – And Stay – Asleep
by Kerri Rodley
A lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. The lack of sleep has been linked to many health problems and is considered an important risk factor for diseases such as obesity, diabetes and even cardiovascular disease.
Most experts have concluded that getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.
Here are some scientifically proven ways to help fall asleep and more importantly stay asleep:
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other chemicals that interfere with sleep
- A quiet, dark and cool environment can help promote sleep. Keep computers, TVs and work materials out of the room.
- Establish a pre-sleep routine: Light reading, a warm bath, herbal tea, meditating or other relaxation exercises.
- Write down problems or ideas on a pad and put them aside to take them out of the mind and stop “busy brain”.
- Go to sleep when truly tired and if not asleep after 20 minutes, go to another room and do something relaxing, until tired enough to sleep.
- Don’t watch the clock tick by. Turn the clock’s face away, especially if illuminated.
- Natural light keeps the internal clock on a healthy cycle. Let in the light first thing in the morning and get out of the office for a sun break during the day.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to set the body’s “internal clock” so it will expect sleep at a certain time night after night.
- Nap early or not at all. Keep it short and before 5 p.m.
- Lighten up on evening meals. Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion.
- Drink enough fluid at night to keep thirst at bay but not so much that sleep will be disturbed by a trip to the bathroom.
- Exercise early. Exercise helps promote restful sleep if it is done several hours before bed.
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