Practical strategies for improving your sleep

March 14, 2019

It’s easy to say “get more sleep,” but, if you’re currently struggling with getting a good night’s rest, how do you get started? First of all, consciously manage your levels of avoidable stress since there is a strong connection between sleep and stress, and both factor into our fight against cancer. Try not to “stress over” matters that you will likely neither remember nor care about two weeks from now.

Secondly, this is an excellent example of the interdependence of all elements of the XY Wellness Approach. For example, managing stress helps with sleep. Quality sleep helps us to manage stress. Exercise reduces stress and helps us to sleep better. The better nourished we are, the better we are able to manage stress and the better sleep we will get. And so on. In other words, the more we adhere to the entire XY Wellness Approach, the more we will notice improvements in the quality of our sleep.

And thirdly, here are some practical things you can start doing right now to improve your quality of your sleep:

  • One of the simplest solutions to poor sleep is turning off all lights and electronic devices.
  • Make sure the room is completely dark, so that you cannot see your hand in front of your face.
  • Keep electric clocks with their digital displays at least 3 feet away from your head.
  • Take the TV out of the bedroom. This one can be difficult, but it makes a big difference. While you may think that watching TV helps you go to sleep, the opposite is actually true. Some other white noise, like a fan or sounds of ocean waves, can serve the same purpose without lowering melatonin and interfering with deep sleep.
  • Establish regular sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends. When it comes to sleep, your body craves consistency.
  • Consider creating a regular, relaxing bedtime routine—which you should begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep—such as taking a hot shower or listening to soothing music.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. And opt for natural fabric as bed sheets—cotton or wool is good.
  • Use your bedroom for sleep and sex only. Keep “sleep stealers” (e.g., watching TV, using a computer, or reading in bed) out of the bedroom. And have more sex.
  • Finish eating at least 2 to 3 hours before your regular bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • If you get up often at night to urinate, stop drinking fluids, including water, 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Try a melatonin dietary supplement. Many high quality options are readily available.

If you are following the XY Wellness roadmap and have tried these practical recommendations, but still are struggling with sleep, it is important to pinpoint the deeper cause behind your insomnia. Stress, depression, rumination, sleep apnea, and anxiety are all common sleep-robbers and resolving the problem requires tackling these issues head on with either further lifestyle changes or with the help of your doctor.

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