Silent Night Dr. Eudene Harry

Discover the key to restful sleep with tips from an expert

Ever known that sluggish, lagging feeling after you don’t get enough sleep? If so, you may need to start taking steps to improve your sleep habits and reclaim your overall physical and mental health. So, where should you start? The following are eight simple steps to improving not only the amount of sleep you get but also the quality of that sleep as well:

1.     Go to bed at the same time each night. The body loves routine and it is critical when establishing new patterns and breaking old habits.

2.     Lose the soda, not the sleep. Though it can be tempting, try not to drink caffeinated beverages after two in the afternoon, as they may keep you awake at night.

3.     Early to the gym, early to sleep. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this may cause all those hormones to float around your body, making it difficult for you to fall asleep.

4.     Have happy hour at an early hour. It may seem like a nightcap or two will send you off to dreamland, but the fact is quite the opposite. Avoid alcohol use at night, as this may contribute to multiple awakenings during the night and difficulty going back to sleep.

5.     Create a relaxation routine prior to bedtime. This may include relaxing baths, meditation or even a cup of warm tea with decaffeinated herbs such as chamomile and lemon balm.

6.     Music to calm the savage beast. Consider listening to soothing nature sounds such as waves or wind, or even just relaxing music.

7.     Stimulation is the enemy of sleep. When it is time for bed, be sure to turn off all lights, televisions, computers or any electronic equipment that can be potentially distracting or stimulating.

8.     If unable to fall asleep, get up and go outside and sit or read or pace until you get sleepy again. Tossing and turning in bed is a great way to get preoccupied with lack of sleep, and even see your bedroom as a “bad” place. Designate the bedroom as your sanctuary for sleep and go elsewhere to get tired before you finally go “back to bed.”

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THIS EXCERPT WAS ADAPTED FROM ANXIETY 101: THE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO MANAGING YOUR ANXIETY AND TAKING BACK YOUR LIFE. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF DR. EUDENE HARRY, AUTHOR

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