How you feel is how you sleep and how you sleep is how you feel. Our daily activity and emotional responses and directly tied to our nightly sleep. When one is out of balance the other suffers. As a person ages, the ability to get a good night sleep starts to become a challenge.
There are some things you can do which will help you get a good night sleep which will help you become more productive, less stressed and full of energy throughout your day. By loosing 1 1/2 hours sleep a night and your productivity and mood decline by 1/3 the next day. While no sleep plan works exactly the same for everyone there are ways to develop your own personal sleep plan.
The key is to experiment and modify some ideas until you find the plan that works for you.
– Keep a regular schedule every night. We are creatures of habit and variations in our sleep schedule make it hard for the body to relax and the mind to transfer in a restful and restorative state. Be consistent and set the time of endurance around 8 hours of sleep. Some people require more sleep and others less but this is a good place to start.
– If for some reason you do not get to sleep as planned make up that lost time by taking a mid day nap.
– Do not got to sleep late as this will begin to alter your sleep schedule. Do not sleep late on the weekends as this too will begin to alter your sleep patterns.
– Be consistent in going to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. If you find your schedule is needing some changes do it gradually with changes in periods of 15 minutes per change and change no less than 4 or 5 days. This allows your mind and body to adjust gradually.
– Resist the after dinner urge to fall asleep. Many of us fall asleep while watching the television or while reading. We have put in a challenging day and after filling our stomachs we find ourselves suddenly getting sleepy. Get up and get moving around to prevent this sleep from occurring as it will be disruptive to our sleep schedule.
– Melatonin is a hormone that is aids in our sleep. The production of Melatonin is controlled by our exposure to light. At night when it is dark the body begins to produce this hormone. In order to assist the mind in this production we need to have adequate light in the day time including natural outdoor lighting and total darkness in the night. Take off your sunglasses in the morning hours and absorb some natural sunlight.
– Many of us leave the tv on to help us fall asleep and night lights to help us get around at night. Do not use back-lit devices in the evening to read by including computers, laptops, iPads and tablets. Even turning on room lights to see when we get up in the night. These things are actually undermining our sleep and limiting Melatonin levels. If you have to get up in the night use a flashlight to see you way around. You will go back to sleep faster when you return to bed.
– Make your bedroom your sleep room. Do your evening activities in a living-room or family room. Watch TV, read or even exercise in your activity room and when going to your bedroom begin to start your sleep cycle as quickly as possible. Condition yourself that going to bed is for either romance for couples and sleep.
– Exercises for the mind and body will help prepare yourself for sleep. No aerobic exercises that energize and motivate but relaxing exercise to slow the body and the mind. Deep breathing exercises that are used to prolong the intake of air and the exhaling. These are done in long durations helping to slow the mind and the body. Do this in a seated position on the floor, chair or bench. Keep erect softly as you do not want to tense the body or the mind.
– After a few minutes of breathing it is not time to slow the body. Lay down flat on the floor, a mat, or even your bed. The key is to be comfortable and yet be able to stretch out your whole body. Start at your toes and wiggle them around gently as you feel them begin to loosen and relax. Next repeat process with your feet work up each body part until you feel totally relaxed.
– The final set is to help you mind exercise, relax and gently slow down. While still laying down place yourself in a position to remain comfortable. Relax your limbs and begin to think of someplace you like to go to. It is peaceful and relaxing and begin to think and visualize yourself in this place. As you feel yourself beginning to enjoy head to your bed and be ready to get a much needed good nights sleep.