Many of these suggestions will sound like commonsense. The most important thing about commonsense is that it is fairly uncommon! Sleeping well is a habit and it is possible to learn good habits and unlearn bad ones in time.
Fresh air and exercise are good for you and can help you to get a good night’s sleep. However, it is important to exercise during the day and not during the evening near to bedtime. Exercise near bedtime will stimulate you and keep you awake.
If you want to sleep at night, do not sleep during the day. ‘Resting the eyes’ after lunch counts as sleeping too! If you feel sleepy during the day, occupy your mind or body, do not sit in a chair and let your mind wander – you will be asleep before you know it.
A healthy diet is essential for a healthy life. Your main meal of the day should not be eaten near bedtime. Food is fuel for the body and will give you energy. If you eat, your body thinks you are going to use all that energy and becomes alert and ready for action. Eat early in the evening and not late at night.
Tea, coffee, cola drinks and chocolate all contain caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, which will keep you awake. Try these suggestions:
- Drink tea and coffee during the day, but avoid it at bedtime.
- Drink decaffeinated tea and coffee only.
- Give up tea and coffee and try something else such as herbal tea.
If you have chronic pain, it is sensible to take some of your painkillers at bedtime so that the pain will not prevent you sleeping. Always consult your GP about taking regular painkillers and do not exceed the stated dose. Remember that misuse of some painkillers can cause pain and can be dangerous.
Humans are creatures of habit. We like habits – they make us feel secure and relaxed. Develop some bedtime habits. Doing the same thing every night prepares you for sleep. It sends messages to the brain saying, in effect, ‘sleep’. You could try:
- Folding and putting away your clothes.
- Having a bath.
- Having a milk drink. Milk encourages sleep.
- Spraying your bedroom with lavender or sandalwood scented room spray.
Go to bed when you feel sleepy but get up at the same time every day. Do not ‘sleep in’.
Your bed should be comfortable. If your mattress is over ten years old, the chances are that it needs replacing. Make sure you have the right number of pillows. Some people have found that altering the number of pillows they use changes the position of their head and neck, and this improves their tinnitus.
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