Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

By Chrissy MacDonald

Getting a good night’s sleep is something we may take for granted until it doesn’t come easy. If you have a hard time falling asleep every night, it can affect your whole life.

We spend about one third of our lives sleeping. Most adults need about six to eight hours of sleep every night. Children need more sleep than adults to be at their best. Teenagers need a lot of sleep. People usually need less sleep as they get older. Getting too little sleep can affect productivity and creativity.

When sleep is repeatedly disrupted, it can have a negative effect on our health, well being and mood. Many factors can affect the quality of sleep such as indigestion, breathing problems, pain, stress, depression, caffeine, some drugs, deficiency in calcium and magnesium, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Here are some things you might like to try to help you sleep better:

  • Go to bed and get up at approximately the same time each day.
  • Establish a ritual before bedtime. This might include a warm bath about an hour before then a cup of chamomile tea.
  • In the late hours of the day and early evening, avoid eating foods such as chocolate, cheese, ham, tomatoes and sugar which tend to be stimulants. Foods such as bananas, figs, yogurt, turkey, tuna and whole wheat are more likely to help promote sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet. When the body is deficient in copper, iron, calcium or magnesium, normal sleep can be disrupted.
  • Avoid alcohol which can contribute to disrupted sleep.
  • Keep the television and other distractions out of the bedroom.
  • The bedroom should be comfortable, calming and quiet. Keep colors and lighting soft.
  • Pay attention to your pillow and mattress. When buying new ones, try them out in the store for a few minutes to make sure you get what you need.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep because of worrying, try to focus on happy memories and thoughts. Think of ten things you are thankful for.
  • Learn relaxation techniques such as meditation.
  • A regular program of exercise can improve the quality of sleep.

If you find it difficult to sleep on a regular basis, look at all of these things, examine your diet and any drugs you are taking. See if you can find a reason your sleep is being disrupted.  Do everything you can to fix the problem instead of relying on drugs to help you sleep.