In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal seventeen critical tips to help you sleep deeply and feel rested the next morning.
First a quick update:
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Are You A Victim of The Three Thieves of Happiness?
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Now, let’s talk about seventeen critical tips to help you sleep deeply and feel rested the next morning.
Did you know that many people think sleeping pills help you to sleep? They don’t; they make you unconscious. Here are 17 tips to help you sleep.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule. This is the most important rule to follow: go to bed and wake up at the same time every day including the weekends. Sleeping in on Sunday does not make up for the sleep you lost during the week. We are creatures of habits, and therefore have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns.
2. Plan 8 hours of sleep. Only less than 1% of the population can experience 6 hours of sleep without health impairment; this is due to genetics – specifically a sub-variant of a gene called BHLHE41. The rest of us need 7-9 hours! Many disguise the need for sleep with caffeine or other stimulants.
3. Exercise early. Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days but not later than 2 – 3 hours before your bedtime. Exercise increases metabolism and thus heats up the body and remains that way for 1-2 hours; to sleep properly, your core temperature needs to be low.
4. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate contain the stimulant caffeine. Its effects can take up to 8 hours to wear off fully. If you drink a cup of coffee in the afternoon, you will still feel the effects at night.
Nicotine is a stimulant, often causing smokers to sleep only very lightly. Smokers often wake up too early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal. Smoking also makes it harder for your airways to stay open while you sleep.
5. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed – and marijuana. Having a “nightcap” or alcoholic beverage before sleep may help you relax, but it fragments sleep and suppresses deep sleep and REM sleep (critical for problem-solving and emotional & mental health.) Heavy alcohol ingestion also may contribute to impairment in breathing at night. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the effects of the alcohol have worn off, and you won’t wake up feeling restored the next morning. It is best to avoid alcohol completely for healthy sleep. Marijuana also blocks REM, and in turn, can create more anxiety because of poor sleep. CBD oil has not been shown to suppress REM.
6. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A light snack is okay, but a large meal can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause frequent awakenings to urinate. It is best to have your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime to allow time for digestion.
7. If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see whether any drugs you’re taking might be contributing to your insomnia and ask whether they can be taken at other times during the day or early in the evening.
8. Avoid sleeping pills. Sleeping pills don’t put you to sleep; they make you unconscious and limit your deep NREM sleep and REM sleep They leave you feeling tired, groggy, forgetful, and they decrease your reaction time; sleeping pills are addictive and are connected to increased risk for cancer; they can also negatively affect your circadian rhythm.
9. Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can help make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Nap for 30-45 minutes. If you have problems falling or staying asleep in the evening, avoid naps at first.
10. Prepare for bedtime and sleep. Relax before bed. Don’t overschedule your day so that no time is left for unwinding. Avoid exposure to negative news and worrisome topics. Choose a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to soothing music.
11. Make notes of tasks. Avoid thinking about uncompleted or future tasks or responsibilities by writing them down on a piece of paper – “To do list.” This helps prevent you from thinking or worrying about them right before sleep or during sleep.
12. Take a hot bath before bed. A hot bath or shower actually helps to drop your body temperature after getting out of the bath. Lower body temperature is important for sleep and also helps you to feel sleepy. It also relaxes and soothes you.
13. Create the perfect sleeping environment. Make your room, dark, cool and free of electronics. Get rid of anything in your bedroom that might distract you from sleep: noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or warm temperatures. You sleep better if the temperature in the room is kept cool (ideal is 65 degrees) and if the room is dark – use blackout curtains. Your brain needs to drop its temperature by 2-3 degrees F to initiate sleep.) A TV, cell phone, or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction and deprive you of needed sleep. I suggest not having any electronics in the bedroom, and stop responding to emails a few hours before bedtime. Individuals who have insomnia often watch the clock. Turn the clock’s face out of view so you don’t worry about the time while trying to fall asleep.
14. Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day. If possible, wake up with the sun or use very bright lights in the morning. If your schedule demands you sleep in past sunrise or wake up before sunrise, ensure you get a full 8 hours sleep and that you do it in a routine. Also, alarms wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system, triggering the flight or flight response (hitting the snooze button shocks your body repeatedly.) Instead practice waking up without an alarm – and go to bed earlier.
15. Beware of computer screens. Cellphones, tablets and computer screens all contain blue light which disrupts your body’s production of melatonin and thus disrupts your sleep patterns. For example, compared to reading a printed book, reading on an iPad suppresses melatonin release by over 50% at night. In the early evening, turn on the blue light filter on all of your electronic devices.
16. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 20 minutes or if you are starting to feel anxious or worried, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep. Staying in bed and tossing and turning eventually creates a new association of lack of sleep and comfort with your bed.
17. Deal with the real issues. If there are unresolved issues in your life, focus on solving them during the day to prevent them from disturbing your sleep at night: anger, frustration, anxiety, grief, loneliness, unresolved relationships, financial challenges, etc. need to be dealt with appropriately and with professional help wherever possible and applicable.
Many of the above 17 sleep tips have been adapted from “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Michael Walker, PhD, and the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute.
If you need help to resolve subconscious issues or other life challenges that are disrupting your life and sleep, book a one-on-one session with me.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.