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How To Get A Good Night's Sleep

Your guide to sleeping well

Sleep disorders affect millions of Americans. Countless nights spent tossing and turning are unfortunately the regular routine for those who have trouble sleeping. But there is help for people with sleep disorders.

Do you remember when you were a small child, and it seemed as though you fell asleep just as soon as your head hit the pillow? And you slept soundly through the night until morning? This is called "the sleep of the innocent". Don't you wish you could sleep like that again? 

Adult responsibilities, stress, and other worries often result in poor sleep habits. And once the tossing and turning begins, it's hard to return to a good night's sleep.

A lot of adults use prescription drugs to help them fall asleep while others "self medicate" with alcohol and over-the-counter sleeping pills to try and fall asleep. If you're regularly struggling to sleep well, then you probably just need to learn to fall asleep again! 

Letís go back to basics! And who better to consult than babies! After all, babies are the experts at sleeping so why not learn a little from them? In addition to their age and natural body clock, there are specific reasons that babies fall asleep so easily.

Letís review a few of them:

  • Routine -  Most parents try very hard to get their children into an everyday routine. Regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and bath times are something to work towards.

    Of course, one can't be too rigid, but a child on a regular routine feels secure and is better able to "predict" what will happen next. It also helps his body clock to begin the process of winding down a short while before he actually gets to bed. He knows that after supper comes his bath, a bed-time story, and a good night kiss. As soon as his head hits the pillow, the sandman is ready and waiting! 

    So try and follow this example: Start a night time routine for yourself. Make your evenings fairly predictable along the lines of eating supper, taking a bath, and going to bed.

    Try to follow this simple routine for at least three weeks and go to bed at the same time each night: about eight hours before you need to get up. Wear soft, warm, and comfortable nightwear intended specifically for sleeping such as flannel pajamas. 
  • Exercise - This is something kids do a lot! They donít stop running around for a minute! Now I'm not going to suggest that you run around wherever you go, but regular physical exercise is one of the most effective (and cheapest) sleep aids around! Itís also healthy and comes with several good side effects. Take up a sport, go to the gym, or just take regular walks. You wonít regret it! 
  • Have peaceful evenings - How many times have you heard parents say to their kids ďCalm down now, itís almost time for bedĒ? Or ďYouíd better stop running around or you wonít be able to fall asleep!Ē?

    Maybe you say this to your own kids, and with good reason! Do you follow your own advice, or do you stay up late watching thriller movies (or even worse, the news!). Maybe you have a habit of finishing off the dayís work that you brought home from the office. Does any of this sound familiar?

    Why not try a different approach? Never try to fall asleep by watching TV. Instead, dim the lights, slip into a hot bath, and play some soothing music. Use aromatherapy in your home, especially lavender for itís wonderful soporific properties. Remain quiet and peaceful for the hour before you go to bed and your body will get the message! 
These tips should help you get a good night's sleep. Most people can reduce or eliminate the severity of their sleeping disorders as well as their need for sleeping pills with nothing more than a simple lifestyle change. Give it a try. Maybe you can too!

Michele Carelse is a qualified Clinical Psychologist and licensed Counselor. Visit her at feelgoodcounseling.com.

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