How to Sleep Better

by Sonia Harvey

Aaahhhhh.... sleep.  Is there anything better?

Yet how many of us think that sleeping can wait while there's more important things to do?  Perhaps some of us have a lot of trouble sleeping. 

A lack of sleep ages your body much faster.  It messes up hormone levels and also influence the body's way of handling glucose.  This in turn contributes to age-related illnesses and diseases. 

Would you like to make an enjoyable ritual out of sleeping?  Or do you perhaps suffer from insomnia?  Try one of these helpful hints:

1.  Take a warm bath to get yourself relaxed.  Use bath salt or English salt and baking soda, a cup of each, in the water to detoxify your body.  Don't stay in too long though for the heat may exhaust you. 

2.  Massage.  If you don't have someone to give you a full body massage, even just a scalp massage may get you relaxed enough to sleep.  

3.  Listen to soothing music.  There's beautiful New Age style music, or just plain the sounds of the sea waves. 

4.  Drink a glass of warm milk 15 minutes before bedtime.  Calsium works directly in on the nerves to soothe them.  

5.  Drink herbal tea.  Camomile or special "goodnight blend" teas may help you have a good night's sleep.  

6.  Eating a small snack about an hour before bedtime.  Try a snack with low protein and high carbohydrate content about an hour before bedtime, like a small glass of fruit juice and cookies, or a food containing the amino acid L-triptophane like turkey, cashew nuts, eggs or cottage cheese.

7.  No caffeine, alcohol or tobacco.  Use these and kiss your sweet rest goodbye.  

8.  Keep your feet warm.  If needed, use a hot water bag.  The veins in our feet get wider in the evenings and it is connected to the time we get sleepy. 

9.  Have proper ventilation in the room you sleep in.  Fresh air and a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius is the best environment for sleeping in.  Too hot or cold and you would feel too uncomfortable to fall asleep. 

10.  Sleep on a firm bed so that your body gets the right support it needs to relax.  Bad mattresses and uneven surfaces may keep some of your muscles tensed up to compensate for parts not supported right. 

11.  Do physical excercise daily.  Even just 15 minutes of physical excercise should be enough activity and give your body the needed oxygen to relax and sleep better.  Do the excercises at least more than half an hour before bedtime, so that your body can have time to wind down before bedtime. 

12.  Have regular sleeping hours.  This may be difficult if you need to work shifts at different times of the week, but getting into a routine of when to go to bed, your body will get used to falling asleep at this time. 

13.  Use your bed for sleeping only.  Do not use the bed for work, watching wild stuff on TV or anything else that you associate with negativity or stress.  Your mind and body should associate the bed with sleeping only.  That's where you sleep.

14.  Sleep with your head to the north and your feet to the south.  Apparently this brings you in line with the electro magnetic fields of the earth, leading to your energies being in harmony with that of the earth.

15.  Relax your mind at least half an hour before bedtime.  This may mean not watching too exciting things on TV or having tense discussions with family.  These will just cause your mind to be racing with ideas and events, instead of going to rest.  

16.  Breathe deeply.  Shallow, quick breaths causes the body to go into stress mode.  If you're trying to relax so you can go to sleep, lie on your back and let every breath fill the lower stomache, then the stomache, then the chest and then the shoulders.  Try to hold that breath for some seconds before slowly breathing out. 

17.  Visualize a peaceful scene.  Do you have a favorite place?  Are there sweetsmelling flowers?  Are there ocean waves?  Find a peaceful place you feel safe in your mind. 

18.  Use the power of your thoughts to imagine it's time to get up.  The alarm's already gone off, and you need to get up now.  But you're tired and don't want to get up, so you try to snooze as much as you can.  Perhaps you are one of those people who when they know it's time to go to sleep, they don't want to and when it's time to get up, they want to sleep.  Use that.  

19.  Here's an age old Eastern technique:  Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, and use your thumbs to press your ears shut.  Listen to that sound for 15 minutes, then put your hands by your side and sleep.   

Try to stay away from sleeping pills. They are not meant for long term use. Some may cause forgetfulness and addiction.