A good night's sleep is important to optimal health. While you sleep, your body recuperates and repairs itself from the effects of the day's activities. Without good sleep, not only will you feel tired, you likely will have a hard time focusing on tasks during the next day. As frustrating as a bout of insomnia can be, you can use a handful of techniques to fall asleep so you'll wake refreshed and ready to take on the day.
You may have trouble falling asleep because your mind is racing. Remove distractions so you can relax. Turn off all lights and pull the drapes to keep outside light from shining into your room. Turn off the television set, a major stimulus that can stop you from falling asleep. Avoid other stimuli such as reading and computer use. Keeping things calm and quiet is key, so don't allow pets or children in bed with you. Their movements can disturb you as you try to fall asleep.
A traditional technique to get to sleep is to visualize sheep and count them as they cross through your imagination. You can also use other counting games, such as counting backward from 300. Take your time and breathe between the numbers, focusing on the numbers and your breath. Clear your mind, and as you count and breathe, visualize yourself as already asleep and resting peacefully.
Reset Your Body
If you can't fall asleep after repeated attempts, you may need to get out of bed and relax your body. Run a warm bath or take a long shower. Fix a cup of chamomile tea or tea with valerian root; both contain relaxing agents. Avoid caffeinated drinks. Do some light stretches before getting back into bed. One or two slow yoga stretches, accentuated by relaxing breaths, will help your body release tension.
Adjust Your Bedding
An overlooked but important factor in falling asleep is the comfort of your bed. Older beds tend to develop hot spots -- areas of the mattress that retain body heat and become lumpy and uncomfortable. Flip or rotate your mattress, or rest on a different side. Position pillows so your neck and head are as comfortable as possible. If your sheets feel itchy, change them. Removing heavy comforters from the bed can also help you fall asleep. Use light layers of covering instead to maintain an even body temperature and avoid feeling bound by heavy blankets.
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