Getting a good night sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and well-being.

Take a nice warm bath or shower in the evening. As well as relaxing you, afterwards your body will cool down, which helps you sleep better.

2 Sleep naked. Sleeping in the nude helps you regulate your temperature. Get a comfortable temperature using blankets or duvet (of suitable warmth), sheets, and pillows. It is usually best to be slightly on the cool side.

  • Preferably sleep with your arms and head out from under the bedclothes, unless the room is very cold.
  • Feeling too hot? Learn how to sleep comfortably on a hot night. Feeling too cold? Learn how to sleep when it's cold.
  • Keep an extra blanket right by the bed, just in case you get cold at night. Don't neglect your feet—cold feet can keep you awake!
  • If you prefer to wear pajamas because they're more comfortable, loose cotton pajamas are the best as they as a rule breathe more easily than other fabrics.

Sleep in varying positions. Changing your sleeping position can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. When you go to sleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, make a conscious effort to follow these guidelines until it becomes habitual:

  • Keep your body in a "mid-line" position, where both your head and neck are kept roughly straight. This should help you sleep.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach. It's difficult to maintain the proper position, and it is more likely to cause aches and pains. If you wish to sleep on your stomach, put your pillow under your hips instead of under your head.

Use a suitable pillow. If it's too thin, your head will tilt backwards, which is uncomfortable. Likewise, don't stack your pillows so that your head is propped at an angle.

  • Try placing a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side. This will support your hips and make this position more comfortable.
  • Try placing a pillow under your legs if you sleep on your back.

Reduce your light exposure an hour or two before going to bed. Bright light before bedtime can disrupt your body's internal clock. It's one of the primary clues to the body that it's either sleep time, or waking time.

  • If your home is brightly lit late at night, turn off lights you do not need.
  • Stop watching TV and using your tablet or phone at least two hours before bedtime too.
  • Eliminate all sources of light in your bedroom. This includes windows, LED clocks, computer lights, cable boxes, and other devices with lights (unless they're very dim). You can cover them with heavy paper, cloth covers, masking tape, or just unplug them. Not only will you get a good night's sleep, you'll save electricity.
  • If light still disturbs you or wakes you in in the morning, wear an eye mask. Sometimes lavender eye "pillows" can be more relaxing.

Add gentle sounds. Use a white noise generator that generates various soothing sounds—–surf, wind, steam—–these are sounds that have no shape, and they can help your brain to de-focus on right now.

  • White noise has been shown to not only help people fall asleep more quickly, but also it can disguise other noises that may wake you during the night.
  • White noise or natural sound machines are often wonderful. But if you cannot afford one, a fan can make soothing noise. So can a radio tuned to "between stations", where it creates static. Make sure that the radio isn't too loud.
  • Repetitive or ambient music is very good for falling asleep. What's especially important is that there be no dramatic shifts in the dynamics of the music. Ambient music is ideal.Just be sure that the music stops or fades out in about an hour, or it could keep you from experiencing really deep sleep.
  • Turn your phone off, or to silent mode (if you use its alarm), so you will not be disturbed with texts, phone calls, and notifications. If you know that you have to be somewhere go to bed earlier.

To be continued in the next newsletter...

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