Getting a good night’s sleep involves much more than just how many hours you sleep. In fact, waking up feeling rested and restored in the morning depends more on the quality of sleep than the amount. This article will describe a holistic approach to sleep hygiene that will help you get your best night’s sleep.
Most people know to avoid the caffeine in coffee, but they neglect to check the caffeine content in other things such as tea, chocolate, and even many pain medications. Since nicotine is also a stimulant, smokers should avoid all nicotine prior to bed, as well. Sugar has a similar effect on the brain, so avoid sweet snacks close to bedtime. Many people think that because alcohol makes them sleepy, it does not hurt to have some before bed. Unfortunately, as the depressant effect wears off, your brain responds by stimulating, waking you up right in the middle of your sleep cycle. Things that are helpful to eat and drink at dinner or before bed are herbal teas, almonds and walnuts (which have tryptophan), dairy (which helps metabolize tryptophan), and fish (which has serotonin).
Sleep Positions Pros and Cons
For best spine health, and to avoid waking yourself up with back and neck pain, sleep on your beck. To avoid breathing problems while sleeping on your back, try other sleeping positions that can benefit your body. Sleep on a slight incline with your head higher than your feet, and avoid having too many pillows under your head to constrict your windpipe. Side sleeping on your left side can promote good circulation. It is good to rotate to the right side once in a while when already awake to avoid constricting blood flow to other organs. It is easy to develop neck and shoulder pain sleeping on your side, so if this is your preference, invest in pillows specifically designed for side sleeping. While stomach sleeping can alleviate snoring and other nocturnal breathing issues, this is the worst position for spine health, circulation, and overall sleep quality.
Even if you do not wake yourself up snoring, it results in a decrease in oxygen flow, which prevents good quality sleep. Sleeping on your back with your torso propped up is one option. Do not prop up just your head alone. If your snoring occurs due to throat construction, wearing a mouth guard that forces the bottom and top teeth apart can help. If your snoring occurs because of sinus congestion, use a nasal wash before bed.
During the last hour before bed, avoid looking computer, phone, and TV screen, as they stimulates brain. Try reading and journaling instead, both of which clear your thoughts and relax your brain. Taking your bath or shower before bed helps you relax because it relaxes your muscles, and transitioning from a warmer to a cooler environment produces drowsiness. Try the following exercises as you lay in bed. Breathe in for four counts, hold your breath at the top for four counts, breathe out for four counts, then hold your breath at the bottom for four counts. Repeat four times. Starting with your feet and working up to your facial muscles, clench and release each muscle group one at a time.
Good quality sleep is essential for physical, mental,and emotional health. Snoring and poor sleep hygiene are the leading causes of poor sleep, so follow the tips in this article to reduce snoring, cut bad sleep habits, and add healthy sleep practices. Most importantly, work on perfecting sleep positions.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. For more information about sleeping positions, do some research and find what works best for you. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700