Guides for Restorative sleep.

Relaxation Techniques Help You Sleep Better
40 million people in the U.S. experience sleep problems each year, according to the FDA. The 2007 Sleep in America Poll found that two-thirds of women surveyed experienced sleep difficulty at least a few nights a week during the last month.

Stress is one of the main causes of sleep problems. Busy days filled with too much to consider, monetary stress, family difficulties, worries . . . it’s too easy to be wide awake at night — and be washed out the next day.

Note: if you are experiencing persistent problems with sleeping, of course check with your physician.

Relaxation Techniques are very useful for sleep problems, reducing your stress, allowing your body and mind to let go of being on “red alert.”
Sleep Hygiene and Bedtime Rituals
Routine around bedtime helps!
Parents of young children are familiar with the fact that bedtime rituals assist their children in getting to sleep, and sleep soundly throughout the night. Did you know it’s helpful for adults too? Having a customary routine around bedtime where you prepare for restful sleep can significantly increase the odds that you will sleep well.

Some useful components of a pre-bed ritual are:

1. Take a warm bath. Your body will often be relaxed as the result soaking in warm water. However, don’t go beyond a sensible time frame. The goal is to relax your body, not create exhaustion. If you remain in hot water too long you could create a state of exhaustion and feel drained of drained of energy.

You can also add bath salts, or a mixture of Epsom salts and baking soda to your bath. These often enhance relaxation and help to get rid of toxins in your body.

A warm bath goes together well with candlelight and soft music for an especially nurturing event.

2. Do some light, non-work related reading. Many people find that quiet, non-stimulating reading before sleep is an excellent way to unwind, reduce psychological stress, and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

3. Avoid drugs like nicotine, caffeine and alcohol before bed. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants that will keep you awake for many hours after use. Also, many people forget that tea, chocolate and cola drinks are high in caffeine as well as coffee.

Alcohol is a depressant and may feel like it is calming and soothing you at first. It might even help you get to sleep. However, research has shown that it actually prevents deep rest. When it is processed in the body during sleep, it can cause restlessness and night sweats, robbing you of restful sleep.

4. Control your environment.You will sleep best in a dark, quiet, cool and well-ventilated room. The ideal room temperature is between 60-65 degrees F.

Fresh air (except in the cold of winter and the heat of summer!) and cooler room temperatures gives you the best sleeping conditions. Keep the thermostat down and do your temperature-regulating inside the bed – with more or fewer blankets.

If you are in a noisy environment, ear plugs, a white noise machine, or soft music can help to dampen unwanted sound.

5. Stay on a regular sleep schedule 7 days a week. Your body likes usual routines, whether you do or not. So pick a sensible and regular time to go to bed each night, and stay with it, even if you don’t think you’re tired when bed-time comes. Your body will be grateful for it. And after a while when it feels it can rely on the routine, it will begin to repay the favor by allowing you get to sleep when you want.

If you are having trouble with night-time sleeping, it is best not to nap during the day.

6. Do some physical exercise during the day. People with desk jobs who perform mental work – like office staff – often have more difficulty with insomnia than people who do physical work. Even 15 – 30 minutes of exercise during the day will provide your body with the movement and oxygen it needs to help you relax more deeply with improved sleep.

And it’s best to avoid exercise before bed. Do your exercise in the early part of the day and avoid strenuous activity before bedtime. Your body will thank you!

7. Do some gentle stretching before sleep. Tension from the stresses and activities of the day can build up in our muscles, especially in the shoulders and back. Many people find it helpful to do some restorative yoga in the evening to release that tension and prepare for sleep. In particular, gentle spinal twists can be very useful to help the back to relax and make it more probable that you will be able to get restful sleep.  SOURCE