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Are You Sleepy Right Now? Learn to Sleep Naturally

By Sandy Schroeder

Sleep is one of the big issues in our culture. Many of us face its challenges every night. Does this sound familiar?

  • Are you struggling with sleeplessness every night?
  • Are you just getting by with less than 7 to 9 hours?
  • Do you run on caffeine and feel like a zombie at work?

Sleeplessness can create a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself. If you wake up in the middle of the night and wonder how you will get up in the morning, you may want to think seriously about natural ways to get the rest that you need. Harvard Medical Schools's Dr. Hadine Joffe says simple lifestyle changes can be the way to sleep better without prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Dr. Joffee suggests starting with two key steps.

  • Get a grip on caffeine
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.

More Tips to Sleep Naturally

See if these help you sleep naturally.

Exercise outside daily - Weather permitting, get outside for 30 minutes every day to walk, run, jog or enjoy a favorite sport. Sunlight and exercise team up to help us rest better.

Set the clock - Go to bed and get up at the same time seven days a week. Don't try to make up for lost sleep on the weekend.

Limit caffeine - Hold your morning coffee to one cup or drink decaf. Too much coffee in the morning can stay with you well into the evening. Gradually scale back caffeine in coffee, tea and other drinks, and shut it off by early afternoon.

Watch your diet and alcohol - Rich spicy dinners can create heartburn to keep you awake. Avoid alcohol and tobacco at least two hours before bedtime.

Work on stressful issues - Do the homework to resolve financial, family or job stress. Keep chipping away to ease your mind with a sense of control and real solutions.

Shutdown the electronics - Turn off the  TV, tablets, computers and cell phones an hour before bedtime. Make sure there are no blue lights on in the bedroom.

Create a soothing sleep ritual - Turn on soft music, have a warm bath or unwind with some easy yoga stretches.

Make your bedroom a sleep retreat - Use light-blocking drapes, and air filters to cleanse the air and screen out noise. Make sure your pillows and mattress are comfortable and remove excess furniture from the room.

Try again - If you do not drift off at the regular bedtime, get up and find a quiet spot to sit and read for 15 to 20 minutes until you feel sleepy. Then go back to bed.

All of these tips may not produce instant results, but if you stick with them the natural rhythm and cumulative effects may gradually work their magic. If nothing seems to make a difference, you may want to see your doctor to consider other issues such as heartburn, depression, menopausal effects, anemia or thyroid issues.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tampa, Fla.

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