Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Reset Your Biological Clock
Some people are blessed with the ability to sleep anywhere at any time. Others find falling asleep a challenge that worsens with the passing of years. Left unattended, insomnia can become chronic, disabling and eventually even a medical condition.
Ronald M. Bazar, author of the book Sleep Secrets: How to Fall Asleep Fast, Beat Fatigue and Insomnia, and Get a Great Night’s Sleep, says that lack of sleep not only affects your ability to work effectively but can have serious effects on your relationships and your enjoyment of life. Lack of sleep also can wreak havoc with your hormones, your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off disease.
“You need six and half to eight hours of good relaxed sleep per night in order to maintain and regenerate your bodies’ natural systems,” he said. “You don’t need to resort to taking drugs and narcotics every night either. There are other natural and alternative ways that work even better.”
Bazar’s comprehensive and easy-to-read book includes, yet goes beyond, the sleep tips you’ve heard about and gets into both science-based research and complementary medicine tips for help resolving insomnia and other problems caused by sleep deprivation.
“One of the most important things to do is to reboot your body naturally and then control every factor that prevents you from falling and staying asleep. Here are some of his top recommendations about how to reset your bodies’ biological clock and create solid reliable sleep habits:
- Detach from your electronic devices well before bed. They are insomnia creators.
- Stretch before bedtime. Get on the floor and do some stretching exercises half an hour before bedtime. Do some yoga poses to relax your back and neck, and stretch your legs and especially your calves to help reduce cramping.
- If you are hungry before bed, have a light snack like fruit but don’t have heavy foods or a full meal or a very late dinner.
- Set your sleep time intentionally. Tell yourself that 10 PM is bedtime and 6 AM is wake up time. Mentally establish and commit yourself to sleep on a regular schedule. Stick to it. Go to sleep the same time every night and get up the same time every morning. Make it a habit.
- Listen to soothing music or read for fifteen minutes or more before you turn off the lights. Just make sure you choose something that won’t stimulate your thinking, make you tense up or worry right when you want to go to sleep.
- Don’t have any electronic devices in the room where you sleep. Turn off all lights, TV and radios, cell phones, laptops, computers, and all those power supplies that have a glowing LED or light. Move them into another room and away from your bedroom so they can’t make sounds that wake you up and interrupt your sleep. Use foam earplugs to reduce noise levels that can prevent you from sleeping.
- Go dark, totally dark. Cover the windows with blackout shades to prevent light from entering the room where you sleep. Wear an eye mask for total blackness. You may even need to replace your alarm clock with something that doesn’t have glowing numbers or is backlit.
- Get up early! Set the alarm and get up just when it is getting light, before the sun rises. Better yet, learn how to awaken without an alarm. Don’t touch that snooze button.
- Get outside and spend 20 minutes or more in the bright early morning sun and fresh air. Take a walk, walk the dog, go for a bike ride, or do some work in the garden.
- Eliminate stimulants such as coffee, tea, soda or anything with caffeine, and sweet drinks with sugar. If you drink coffee, only have it in the morning and never have it after lunch or within four to six hours of bedtime. Don’t drink energy drinks or caffeine drinks in the afternoon or evening.
- Take a short nap during the day only if you are sleepy. But if you have problems falling asleep at night, then do not nap until you re-establish a new rhythm. It’s OK to take a 20 minute nap if you get tired, but don’t go over 30 minutes and take the nap at least six hours before your normal bed time so that you are not over-rested to the point where it interferes with your normal sleep time.
- Get a comfortable bed and coverings. Turn the temperature down at night so it’s cool in the air and warm in the bed. Go hypoallergenic or organic.
Here are some other actions you can learn to get to sleep fast:
- Mind techniques to quiet the mind and help you relax
- Simple breathing techniques that will help you sleep easier and deeper
- Eat the foods that will help you sleep, and avoid the foods that don’t
- How to fall back asleep quickly if you wake up in the middle of the night
- The best pillow to use for sleeping
- Inclining your bed can help you sleep
- Walking outside barefoot can actually help you sleep better at night
- Supplements and remedies to target your sleep needs — or eliminate fears
- Solutions to snoring and sleep apnea
- Jet lag prevention tips
- Cannabis for sleep? How to find the right strain
- Special sleep advice for babies, teens, and elders
“Be consistent,” Ron says. “You can train your body and achieve the cyclic rhythms you need to go to sleep when you want to and get a good night’s rest. “