The Aaron Advantage
The Aaron Advantage

Sleep a Little Easier

As I have grown into adulthood, sleep has become more and more important to me as time has gone on.  I think it started when I had small children and the lack of good sleep brought about illness when my kids got sick, headaches, memory issues and general overall crankiness.  Oh how good it felt to finally sleep through the night or get a really good and much needed nap!  Unfortunately, as my kids grew up, the ability to sleep really deep still evades me.  Because of that, I have certain things I do to help me have the best chance of getting a good nights sleep.  

Start Fresh - I find that if I make my bed every day I tend to sleep better.  Wrinkles or little pieces of grit (not sure what that is, but I hate it) or problems with the covers staying on the bed can all hinder my sleep.  The best way to keep those things from disturbing me is to make my bed every day.  If the covers end up on one side or the other or if the mattress pad wants to slide around, making sure everything is how it is supposed to be makes it so nice when time for me to go to bed.  Some people just straighten up their beds a bit before they get in.  For me, I don't want to work when I am already tired and it stresses me a bit if I have to do that right before bed.  I want to be able to slide in my bed and just let the world melt away.

Use a Natural Aid - Other things that may help are natural sleep aids.  A cup of chamomile tea can do wonders--just don't drink too much or you will be waking up more in the night to use the restroom!   Keep a quiet routine in the evening or right before bed to help your body settle down.  Sports or high action TV shows can get your adrenaline pumping which can also hinder good sleep.  Reading a calming book or listening to soft music can all be natural sleep aids as well.

Dim the Lights - If you have a bright clock next to your bed, maybe turn it towards the wall.  Not only can the light hinder your sleep, but if you are having a rather difficult night, seeing the time on the clock can add more anxiety and then make it harder to get back to sleep if you are awakened in the middle of the night for one reason or another.  If you need a nightlight, use something very muted so that whenever you do wake up at night your brain knows for sure it's not time to stay awake!

Fans are Good - When you turn out the lights, turn on a fan.  A slightly cooler room will help aid in sleep.  Not to mention the white noise a fan makes can drown out any other noise and help you sleep better as well. 

Keep it Clean - Going back to the bed itself, keeping the sheets clean is as important as making your bed daily.  If you get in the habit of stripping your bed once a week or so, it will make your bed feel and smell good as well.  This is good for your sleep health as well as  your general overall health.  Would you sleep in the same clothes for a month?  Most likely you wouldn't.  Cleanliness is not only important when we are awake, but it's also important for our sleep time as well.

There are a lot of other things that may help you gain some better sleep.  Of course, insomnia can be a sign of other issues at times so if nothing seems to work it might be time to talk to your doctor.  Sleep is extremely important to your overall health so don't take a good nights sleep for granted.--Jen Lush

This blog was inspired by an article in the May Issue of the AARP Bulletin.

Photo Credit: Matthew Henry

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