For some, sleep comes easily; for others, it’s elusive. External circumstances and our behaviours can affect our ability to get a good night’s rest. The list of reasons to get enough sleep is long and includes such benefits as improved health, reduced risk of injury, better moods, weight control, reduced chronic pain, a better sex life, clearer thinking, improved memory, and a stronger immune system.

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself get a good night’s sleep:

  • Avoid alcohol after dinner, and limit its consumption before then. Alcohol is a sedative, so a nightcap can be attractive, but it stimulates the brain after it is metabolized and can disrupt sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon. It takes 4-6 hours for the body to metabolize caffeine.
  • Turn off your screens at least an hour, if not 2-3 hours, before bedtime. The blue light from screens and some energy-efficient light bulbs inhibits the body’s production of melatonin, the chemical that makes us sleepy, so checking email or facebooking (or reading this blog 😉 ) before bed can prevent you from getting to sleep.
  • Enjoy a light dinner and avoid after-dinner snacking. If you do snack, enjoy some dairy and carbohydrates.
  • Let it go. Write tomorrow’s list of things to do before you go to bed. This will reduce your brain’s need to dwell on it.
  • Make your bedroom a sleeping Shangri-la. Make it quiet, dark, and comfortable. Use clean sheets. Try an aromatherapy diffuser. Buy light-dampening curtains. Wear earplugs and an eye mask if you’re a light sleeper.
  • Establish a bedtime ritual. Do something just before you go to bed each night to flip the switch into sleep mode… take a candle-lit bath, read some light fiction, do some gentle yoga or deep breathing, meditate.

Other Articles in this issue:

Change Happens One Step at a Time (Article)
Your Body on Yoga: The Abdominals
Take 5 – Make Time for this Quick Stretch: Camel Ride
Philosophy Byte: Ahimsa
Eat Well: Green Smoothie
Balance At Work News & Events