Your Best Sleep

Sleep is incredibly important. Our bodies heal and regenerate themselves during sleep. Getting enough sleep makes us happier, weigh less, think more clearly, and have better overall health. But what do we do if we can’t get enough sleep?

Here are a few tips to help ensure that you get the best night’s rest you can.

Your bedroom

Your bedroom, and especially the bed itself, should be relegated to sleep (and romance). Working or watching TV in your bed will cause your brain to start going haywire when you get in it. Train your brain to automatically rest when you crawl in bed by reserving the bed for nothing but sleep. Outfit your room to be a great sleep environment. Surround yourself with building materials and decor that promote coziness and comfort, such as natural wood, a warm-colored brick, or a cheerily-painted wall and shelf design.

Invest in a mattress that supports your back, pillows and bedding that are comfy and make you feel good, and a neatly-organized night stand with a lamp that emanates warm light. People tend to sleep better in cooler temperatures, so you might keep the air in your room just a few degrees below room temperature. If you need white noise to sleep, keep a fan or use a white noise app. If you’re one of those people who suddenly remembers, as you’re trying to fall asleep, everything you have to do the next day, keep a notepad by your bed and jot things down, so that you can see them first thing in the morning and let them go for the time being.

The hour before bed

Experts strongly recommend dedicating the hour before bed to quiet time. This means turning off screens and slowing down the body. To calm your brain, open up a book or a magazine. You could play a game of solitaire (with real cards! Not on a computer), or spend ten to twenty minutes meditating. To calm your body, you might take a hot bath or soak in the spa for a bit, or have a your favorite nightcap (be careful to stay away from needing a drink to sleep, though). You could also wind down with tai chi or yoga, which will help calm both body and brain.

Sleeping disorders

If you are doing your best to implement good sleep habits and are still having trouble sleeping, you might have a sleeping disorder. One major type of sleeping disorder is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is disrupted during sleep, meaning the brain and the body lose oxygen. One form of sleep apnea occurs when soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse. Another form occurs when the brain stops sending signals to the airways. If you have sleep apnea (apnea del sueño), look into getting a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. These machines push air into your airways to force them open.

Another common sleep disorder is insomnia. Insomnia occurs when a person has difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Sometimes, for acute insomnia, doctors may prescribe sleeping pills. For chronic insomnia, doctors usually try to address the underlying problem. Employing excellent sleeping habits can also help improve insomnia.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD), is another sleeping disorder. PLMD is characterized by rhythmic moving of the limbs. People with this disorder don’t usually realize that they have it; it usually affects their partner first. Caffeine makes the condition worse. PLMD can be effectively treated with a drug regimen.