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29 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep

By Dr. Mercola

If you are having sleep problems, whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, don't feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning, or simply want to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, try as many of the following techniques below as possible:

My current favorite for insomnia is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This is a very popular energy psychology too. Most people can learn this gentle tapping technique in several minutes.

EFT can help balance your body's bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that are contributing to the insomnia at a very deep level. The results are typically long lasting and the improvement is remarkably rapid.

Listen to White Noise or Relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep. An excellent relaxation/meditation option to listen to before bed is the Insight audio CD.

Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.

Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. Please whatever you do, keep the light off when you go to the bathroom at night. As soon as you turn on that light you will for that night immediately cease all production of the important sleep aid melatonin.

AvoidTV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out ofyour bedroom or even out ofyour house, completely. It is too stimulating toyour brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. It also disruptsyour pineal gland function for the same reason as above.

Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest ofyour body. A study has shown that this reduces night wakings.

Read something spiritual or religious. This will help you to relax.Avoid readinganything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novels, as they may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours, instead of going to sleep.
The Sun Alarm™ SA-2002, which I personally use, is a natural way to wake up in the morning. I highly recommended it as an alternative to loud alarm clocks. Read More Now!

Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be awoken suddenly. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, they should be unnecessary. I gave up my alarm clock years ago and now use a sun alarm clock. The Sun Alarm™ SA-2002 provides an ideal way to wake up each morning if you can't wake up with the REAL sun. Combining the features of a traditional alarm clock (digital display, AM/FM radio, beeper, snooze button, etc) with a special built-in light that gradually increases in intensity, this amazing clock simulates a natural sunrise. It also includes a sunset feature where the light fades to darkness over time -- ideal for anyone who has trouble falling asleep.

Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed. This is a powerful tool to help you recover from the effects of stress.

Melatonin and its precursors. If behavioral changes do not work, it may be possible to improve sleep by supplementing with the hormone melatonin. However, I would exercise extreme caution in using it, and only as a last resort, as it is a powerful hormone. Ideally, it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night. You can also use one of melatonin's precursors, L-tryptophan or 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). L-tryptophan is the safest and my preference, but must be obtained by prescription only. However, don't be afraid or intimidated by its prescription status. It is just a simple amino acid.

Get Blackout Drapes for Your Bedroom. This will prevent lightfrom coming in from the outside. Even very tiny levels of light are sufficient to completely shut down your body's production of melatonin.Sleeping in complete darkness and having bright light exposure in the daytime is apowerfulnatural methodto increase your melatonin levels and decrease your risk of cancer.

Get to bed as early as possible.Your body, particularlyyour adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11 p.m.and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up intoyour liver, which then secondarily back up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.

Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and seratonin, and may have other negative effects as well. To purchase a gauss meter to measure EMFs try Cutcat at 800-497-9516. They have a model for around $40.Some expertseven recommend thatyou pull your circuit breaker before bed to kill all power inyour bedroom.

Keep the temperature inyour bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes, and particularly the upstairs bedrooms, too hot. This is especially important to do. Make sure you the thermostat is turned down two hours before you go to bed to give your bedroom time to cool down. With the increased price of heating fuel, this will also save you money.

Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan need to produce melatonin and serotonin.

Also eat a small piece of fruit. This can help the tryptophan cross your blood-brain barrier.

Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, may have effects on sleep New drugs like Lunestradon't treat the causeand may actually cause a dependency or addiction. In most cases, the condition, which caused the drugs to be taken in the first place, can be addressed by following the Total Health Program.

Avoid caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and therefore they can feel the effects long after consuming it. So an afternoon cup of coffee (or even tea) will keepmany people from falling asleep. Also, some medications, particularly diet pills, contain caffeine.

Alarm clocks and other electrical devices. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from the bed as possible, preferably at leastthree feet from your body. This will minimize potentially hazardous electromagnetic fields.

Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.

Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful night's sleep. Follow an effective program to help you lose weight.

Avoid foods that you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true for dairy and wheat products, as they may have an effect on sleep, such as causing apnea, excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, and gas, among others.

Don't drink any fluids withintwo hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.

Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep.

Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it ... 2 a.m. ... 3 a.m. ... 4:30 a.m.

Keep your bed for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and to think of the bed as a place to sleep.

If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause problems if not properly addressed.

Don't change your bedtime. You should go to bed, and wake up, at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.

Make certain you are exercising regularly. Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday can help you fall asleep. However, don't exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can do it.

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