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Nearly one-fifth of adults report difficulty sleeping. It is a frustrating problem because prescription medication often has side effects that people can’t tolerate. Here is a long list of sleep hygiene techniques.

  • Sleep as much as needed to feel refreshed during the following day. Restricting the time in bed seems to solidify sleep, but excessively long times in bed seem relates to fragmented and shallow sleep.
  • Stop trying to force your brain into submission and instead check out what it is thinking about. Observe your brain as if you were an outside observer.
  • Generate alpha by rubbing your left hand thumb and index fingers together gently and feel the sensation it provides. Touch the tongue to the roof of your mouth directly behind the ridge made by the roots of your teeth and nice the feeling. Think of floating on the water, in a balloon or with wings. Observe how your body feels.
  • Go to bed and get out of bed at the same time each day, seven days a week. (a regular awake time in the morning leads to regular times of sleep onset)
  • Get a steady daily amount of exercise, this will cause a deeper sleep. But not after 6:00PM
  • Insulate your bedroom against sound (carpeting, curtain, closed doors)
  • Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as possible. The tiniest bit of light can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. There should also be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. Keep the light off when you go to the bathroom at night, as soon as you turn on the light you will for that night immediately cease all production of the important sleep aid melatonin. Wear a sleep mask.
  • Keep the room temperature moderate; excessively warm rooms may disturb sleep.
  • Have a light snack at bedtime, hunger may disturb sleep. Eat a small piece of fruit and a high protein snack several hours before bed—dates, tuna, milk. Avoid grains, wheat products and sugars
  • Avoid excess liquids in the evening to minimize the need for nighttime trips to the bathroom. Don’t drink any fluids within two hours of going to bed.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening. Also, some medications, especially diet pills that have caffeine.
  • Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol helps tense people fall asleep more easily, the ensuring sleep is then broken up.
  • Get up if you can not fall asleep. People who feel angry and frustrated because they can not sleep should not try harder and harder to fall asleep, you should turn on the light, leave the bedroom and do something different like reading a boring book. Do not engage in stimulating activities. Return to bed only when sleepy. Get up at your regular time the next day, no matter who little you slept.
  • Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.
  • Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body.
  • Avoid tobacco. The chronic use of tobacco disturbs sleep.
  • Put the clock under the bed or cover it up if you find yourself waking up and looking at the clock.
  • Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be wakened suddenly. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, they should be unnecessary. Try an alarm clock that has the features of a traditional alarm clock with a special built in light the gradually increases in intensity simulating a natural sunrise. It also includes a sunset feature where the light fades to darkness over time-ideal for anyone who has trouble falling asleep.
  • No TV before bed. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep.
  • Listen to White Noise or Relaxation CD’s. Some people find the sound of white noise or natural sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep.
  • Read something spiritual or religious. This will help to relax. Don’t read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect.
  • Take a hot bath or shower before bed.
  • Lose weight.
  • Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible.
  • Go to bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11pm and 1am. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you awake, the toxins back up the liver which then secondarily back up into the entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.
  • Clear clutter from your bedroom and from your house in general.
  • No daytime naps.
  • Rhythmic full breaths through your nose. Stop after one deep breath in and out and count. In, out, 1; in out 2, etc.
  • Hold the right nostril closed and breathe slowly but deeply only through the left. Do this at least five breaths.
  • Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields. (EMFs) These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other effects as well. To purchase a gauss meter to measure EMFs try Cutcat at 800-497-9516. They have a model for around $40. One doctor even recommends that people pull their circuit breaker before bed to kill all the power in the house (Dr. Herbert Ross, author of “Sleep Disorders”).
  • Melatonin and its precursors. If behavioral changes do not work, it may be possible to improve sleep by supplementing with the hormone melatonin. Because it is a hormone, it is not good for long term, or under age 40. However, use extreme caution in using it, and only as a last resort, as it is a powerful hormone. Ideally it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night. You can also use one of melatonin’s precursors, L-tryptophan or 5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).
  • Valerian root
  • Kava kava
  • B Vitamin inositol 500-1000mg
  • If you are menopausal or peri-menopausal, get checked out by a natural medicine physician. You may be low in progesterone relative to estrogen. Hormonal changes at this time cause problems if not properly addressed.
  • Meditation and guided imagery
  • Tryptophan and , I-theanine, two amino acids that can be bought over the counter.
  • Aromatherapy such as lavender or geranium oils.
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