Sleep Tips

How to Re-Set Altered Circadian Rhythm

An optimal sleep-wake cycle is "set" by proper exposure to strong light during the day and to darkness at night. One way to do this is via bright-light therapy from a "light-box" device, particularly in the morning hours. At night, consider using eyeshades, turning your digital clock away from your face or covering it up, and minimizing the use of nightlights.

Try These Relaxation Tips

In order to achieve optimal length and depth of sleep, get into a relaxed state just before entering bed. This is a perfect time to use a breathing exercise such a simple breath counting to calm an overactive mind. Other tips: drink a small cup of chamomile tea, meditate or do some light stretching.

Why and How to Remember Dreams

Good dreaming contributes to mental health by supporting a healthy memory, healing emotional wounds and cultivating a positive mood. Keep a dream journal next to your bed to note dreams you have had, and discuss your dreams with family and friends. Limiting sleep medications and alcohol will help support healthful dreaming.

Dim the Lights

Exposure to light after sundown can be a major contributor to poor sleep, and poor health. Third-shift nurses who are exposed to light in the middle of the night have a higher risk of breast cancer. Make sure your sleep is occurring in the darkest environment possible. Also, use dim lights and limit exposure to electronic-device screens during preparation for bed.

Listen to Music Before and During Sleeping

Music can have a dramatic effect on our health and outlook. Taking advantage of this can be a major contributor to good, sound sleep. Consider listening to calming, peaceful music while starting your nighttime routine. Some people find having background music on while sleeping can promote a deep and restful night leading to a refreshed morning. Use soft, headband-style "sleep-phone" earphones, available through the Internet, if your partner prefers quiet sleep.

Reducing Nighttime Urination

Frequent nighttime urination is a common cause of insufficient or low-quality sleep. To extend and deepen sleep periods, avoid caffeine and alcohol which can act as diuretics. Food sensitivities can cause irritable bladder - keep a food diary and chart of your nocturnal bathroom habits to isolate potential contributors. Men with aging prostates will often experience frequent nighttime urination. They should consider saw palmetto supplements and discuss the situation with their physicians to rule out something more serious.

Optimal Room Temperature

Room temperature can play a crucial role in sleep quality. Consider a ceiling fan, lighter clothing or limited covers if you tend to overheat. If staying warm is the issue, consider a space heater, heavier pajamas including socks, and an extra blanket.