For millions of people around the world, getting a good night sleep is something they only dream about. With our increasing addiction to technology and the fast pace at which life happens, it just seems nearly impossible for many to turn off the day and go to sleep. Getting a good night sleep is probably the most important thing you can do for your day. It is a sad fact then that most people in the developed world have horrible sleep habits.
There are also times when you want to sleep, but can’t. Consider those suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Often, someone with this condition will be truly exhausted, and want to sleep, but are kept away by the constant tingling or crawling sensations in their legs. For these people, the frustration of lack of sleep is compounded by the fact that they want to sleep and simply cannot.
Many physicians and sleep experts believe that developing good sleep habits can go a long way toward relieving the symptoms of RLS and relieve the problems that sleep deprivation has on society at large. Here are a number of things you can do to develop the habits necessary to achieve a good night’s sleep.
Turn Off and Unplug Prior to Bedtime
Studies have shown that the light shining from tablets and smartphones can actually hinder the melatonin production in our bodies prior to sleep. As the sun goes down, our bodies begin producing melatonin in preparation for bedtime. That is why you begin feeling sleepy after it gets dark.
At least two hours before you intend to go to bed, it is best, if possible to turn off those screens and spend time allowing your body to naturally get you ready for sleep.
Establish Consistent Sleeping and Waking Times
You may think it is impossible, but having a set sleeping and waking schedule can significantly increase your quality of sleep, and help you to fall asleep. As someone who suffers from RLS, I can attest to the fact that if I get out of my normal bedtime routine, I am far more likely to suffer symptoms when I finally do try to hit the sack.
Our bodies thrive on schedule and routine. While it may be difficult at first to drag yourself out of bed at your set time, or turn out the light and go to sleep “so early”, it will be quite beneficial to you in the long run.
Avoid Food and Drink Too Close to Bedtime
If your body is working hard at digesting when you are trying to go to sleep, it will not be able to shut down sufficiently for you to truly rest. It is generally recommended that you not eat anything heavy within at least a few hours of bedtime, to avoid disrupting your sleep.
Engage in Calming Activities Prior to Bed
Look for things that are relaxing, but do not require too much mental stimulation. Reading a book or magazine might be a good relaxing habit to get into. However, doing a crossword puzzle might hamper your relaxation because it will create the need for mental concentration. Look for things that are simple and enjoyable, and develop the habit of doing them an hour or so before bedtime.
Find What Works For You
It might take you some trial and error to find the routine that works for you. Once you identify the things that help you fall asleep and stay asleep, then work at doing them until they become a habit. Your body will thank you.