In a recent blog post about the common characteristics of groups that live well past age 100, I was reminded of how important it is to get enough good quality sleep each night. These groups commonly slept 7.5 to 9 hours each night. In terms of the quality of sleep, one should experience 4 to 6 sleep cycles in which each cycle consists of n-REM and REM sleep. A cycle lasts about 90 minutes. A disruption of the cycle can lead to feelings of sluggishness in the morning and through out the day.
Since returning from a trip to the East Coast, I’ve noticed several mornings feeling groggy after awakening from at least 8 hours of sleep. I do tend to be a light sleeper and with 5 kitties who roam in and out of the bedroom at night and a husband that occasionally snores, I estimate that I wake up 6 times or more a night.
In an effort to get better sleep, I made a few changes. I now close the kitties off from the bedroom at night. Sometimes, I also wear earplugs especially when I don’t sleep well the night before. I try never to watch TV, work on a computer and expose myself to bright lights for an hour before sleeping. The only caffeine I drink is in the mornings. Other good tips include:
- Keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Try to avoid napping. If you feel tired, try to engage yourself in a stimulating activity.
- Don’t read from a backlit device at night.
- Prepare yourself for sleep an hour or more before going to bed. This can mean taking a warm bath. Put on PJs. Doing simple preparations for the next day.
- Avoid drinking a lot of fluids at night.
- Avoid a big meal before going to bed.
- You may want to try several relaxation techniques if you have anxiety. Examples include deep breathing exercises or guided meditation.
- Some supplements can also help (melatonin, tryptophan, HTP-5). You may want to consult your nutritionist or a doctor before starting this.
Since making some key changes, I now get better quality sleep and I feel awake and energized during the day.
Have a good night’s sleep.