By Online Instructors Caroline Young, MPH and Cyndie Koopsen
(More about these instructors below)
Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Do you toss and turn? Do you wake up too early or find yourself feeling tired in the morning? You are not alone.
Millions of people struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia takes a toll on your life and the people around you. Getting a good night’s sleep (generally 7-8 hours each night) is the foundation of a healthy life. Lack of sleep can lead to all types of health issues such as heart problems, lowered immunity, depression, diabetes, obesity, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, increased risk of accidents, and emotional issues.
Developing a bedtime routine, creating a healthy sleep environment, managing stress and anxiety, following a sleep schedule, and taking better care of your body are just some of the things you can do to get a good night’s sleep—every night.
Here are some tips for happy, healthy sleep:
- Keep a regular schedule when possible. Wake up at the same time every day. This ritual will help you maintain your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
- Maintain regular times for meals, medications, chores, and other activities so your inner “body clock” runs more smoothly.
- Don’t read, eat, watch TV, talk on the phone, or use the computer in bed. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or strenuous exercise for 1.5 hours before bed.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and a little bit cool.
- Use comfortable bedding.
- Keep your bedroom clean and dust free. Use hypoallergenic pillow and bedding covers to decrease the effects of dust mites.
- Create calming bedtime rituals such as dimming your lights hours before bed, taking a soothing bath, reading something relaxing, or drinking a warm (caffeine free) beverage.
- Allow yourself to let go and surrender to sleep.
- If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, don’t make yourself stay in bed. Get up and do some very light activity such as a yoga pose, engaging in meditation, or listening to soothing music.
- Acupuncture may reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep as well as massage therapy and/or aromatherapy (using lavender, chamomile, or mandarin essential oils).
- Healing sounds of nature, soothing music, or engaging in guided imagery or chakra balancing can help you gently relax into sleep.
- The amount of physical activity you expend during the day will help you relax at night and fall asleep more easily.
Try a variety of different strategies for better sleep to find the one(s) that work best for you. You will never regret a good night’s sleep. Talk to your doctor if you continue to have difficulty sleeping after trying some or all of the tips for better sleep.
About these Instructors
Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC is a nurse who has cared for patients in acute care settings, community clinics, and the home. Her professional nursing career has involved nursing executive leadership and administration, staff development and education, community education and wellness, and holistic care. She has designed, developed, and presented numerous educational programs for audiences covering integrative health, promotion and wellness, and chronic disease management and prevention. She is the co-author of Spirituality, Health, and Healing and Integrative Health: A Holistic Approach for Health Professionals.
Caroline Young, MPH, has an extensive public health background that includes experience in research, workshop presentations in various areas of health care, and online and onsite teaching. She has expertise in holistic community health and wellness program design, development, marketing, implementation, and evaluation. She has also designed, developed, and presented integrative health programs for culturally diverse populations, senior populations, and faith communities. She is the co-author of Spirituality, Health, and Healing and Integrative Health: A Holistic Approach for Health Professionals.