Sleep Better

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We seem to be living in an age where normal sleep has been largely forgotten. I really don’t meet too many people these days who enjoy a good night’s rest and it’s time we did something positive to address this problem.

images (1)If you visit your doctor and complain about a lack of sleep, there’s a high probability that you’l get a prescription for medication that will put you into a chemically-induced sleep – a condition that is far from natural and prone to unfortunate side effects. Is there a more natural alternative that will keep us at a safe distance from the drugs and still help us to experience the wonders of a great night’s sleep? Of course there is! You’re probably well aware that there is a long and ancient tradition of using herbs and plants to promote sleep but that might not be the best way to ensure a peaceful night’s repose, especially in the long term. We need a more fundamental approach to developing better habits when we go to bed and that starts with our sleeping environment.

Most bedrooms are far too bright. Does that surprise you? Bright light from bedside lamps, television sets, laptops or mobile phones tends to stimulate your brain and encourage your body to wake up. This is the exact opposite of how you want to feel when you get into bed. Blue light is a particular problem because, like daylight, it sends a potent wake-up signal to the brain. So you need to lower the lights and remove all those brightly-lit gadgets from your sleeping quarters. That’s a pretty good starting point. But there’s more.

IMG_4428As a species, we developed some very effective defence responses to keep us alive and that includes our ancient reactions to things that go bump in the night. An unsual noise can not only wake us instantly from a deep sleep but it can trigger a release of adrenaline in preparation to meet some threat or danger in the night. You might consider wearing ear plugs because it’s important to reduce the background noise of air-conditioning units, radiators, creaking floorboards or the host of other sounds that can infiltrate our senses and disturb our sleep.

The next piece of advice is a little more controversial and it’s the subject of pets. Having animals on the bed is a mistake for lots of good reasons and I know that many people will simply shake their heads in disbelief and ignore this advice completely. And that’s fine. As long as you’ve read the advice and decided to ignore it, you’re making an informed decision and choosing what you feel is best for you. If you insist on having animals in the bedroom, you might consider makiing up a bed for them on the floor because their movement can disturb you and wake you up and that’s not the best way to respect your need for a great night’s sleep.

Ultimately, you need to create a routine and an environment that are perfectly aligned with good sleep. This will hep you to experience the best possible results every night and enable you to wake up feeling completely refreshed and restored. If there is anything in the bedroom that’s interfering with your sleep, remove it. I’m not sure that this advice applies specifically to spouses and I wouldn’t want to provide an excuse for you to park your beloved on the sofa downstairs – with the dog – for the night! But, in the interests of a good night’s rest, it might be one alternative to consider!

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