Quality sleep is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. Too little sleep can result in serious medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, breathing difficulties, diabetes and obesity. Lack of sound sleep also affects mood, memory and clear thinking. Here are a few tips for getting a good night’s rest without prescription drugs or over the counter sleep aids that often have undesirable side effects:
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, colas, chocolate and most energy drinks, and should be avoided for at least 4 hours before bedtime. Nicotine is also a stimulant, so smokers should similarly refrain from lighting up in the late evening. Alcohol is another stimulant that affects sleep, so limit consumption to 1 or 2 drinks no later than 3 hours before going to bed.
Steer Clear of Late Night Meals
Avoid eating large meals late at night, and especially those with spicy foods. A heavy meal eaten within two to three hours of going to bed can result in digestive discomfort, making it hard to sleep.
Try Natural Sleep Remedies
Rather than prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids with their unwanted side effects, there are several natural alternatives that can help you fall asleep. Try Melatonin, Tryptophan, Chamomile and Valerian Root.
Regular Physical Exercise
National Sleep Foundation studies indicate that as little as 10 minutes daily spent cycling, walking or taking part in other aerobic exercises can significantly improve sleep quality. Exercising regularly also helps reduce the risk of other sleeping disorders, including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day helps regulate the body’s internal clock and improve overall sleep quality.
Sleep on the Right Mattress
Sleeping on the right mattress is essential for getting a sound night’s sleep. Replacing an old, sagging mattress can provide almost immediate relief from many sleep ailments, including backache and insomnia.
As with any physical disorder, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking supplements or beginning an exercise routine.