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Issue 95, December 2006

Sleeping Well

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you fall asleep easily, then wake up five hours later and can't fall back asleep? Do you wake up several times during the night and have trouble staying asleep?

The value of a good night's sleep cannot be overestimated. Quality sleep enables your body and mind to perform optimally each day. Sleep helps to restore and rejuvenate your memory processes, energise your nervous and immune systems, and stimulate overall growth and development.

Sleep problems may already be interfering with your daily life. Here are some tips to help you on your way to a good nights sleep:
  1. It is normal to take fifteen or twenty minutes to fall asleep. If you don't fall asleep within half an hour don't lie awake worrying about being unable to sleep. Get up and do something until you feel sleepy again and then go back to bed if you still can't sleep try the same strategy again.
  2. Go to bed only when you are tired. Notice the waves of sleepiness which come every sixty to ninety minutes in the evening and go to bed right then. Don't try to 'catch up' on lost sleep when you are not tired.
  3. It's important to associate bed with sleep. Unless reading or listening to music helps you to sleep avoid spending non-sleeping time in bed. Don't watch TV or eat in bed.
  4. If you wake in the night or early in the morning follow point 1. Remember that resting peacefully is nearly as restorative as sleeping so don't become stressed or worried if you wake and can't fall asleep again.
  5. Don't take daytime naps as this can prevent you falling asleep at night.
  6. Establish a routine - getting up at about the same time every morning even on weekends. Changing sleeping patterns can throw out your body clock.
  7. Evening relaxation rituals such as a warm bath, a warm milk drink, soothing music, yoga, meditation or listening to a relaxation tape can help.
  8. While regular exercise is very helpful don't exercise within three hours of bedtime.
  9. Avoid caffeine and nicotine at night.
  10. Don't worry that you're not getting as many hours sleep as you feel you should. This just focuses your mind on the problem.

"Contact" Victorian HD Newsletter August/September 2006 Number 32

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