Health Tip – Apr. 19 – Tips for Rest and Sleep
Rest is as important as physical activity for general health. Identify periods during the day when you can be passive, without stimulation, doing nothing, and make time for them. Consider the following when planning rest into your schedule:
1. Try to get into the habit of napping: ten to twenty minutes in the afternoon, preferably lying down in a darkened room.
2. Spend some time outdoors as often as you can to get exposure to bright, natural light. If you are concerned about harmful effects of solar radiation, do it before ten in the morning or after three in the afternoon and use sunscreen.
3.Try to give yourself about an hour in dim light before you go to sleep at night. Lower the lighting in your house and bedroom. If other members of the household object, wear sunglasses.
4.Pay attention to sleep hygiene: all the details of lifestyle, including intake of caffeine and bedroom design, that affect the quality of sleep. When you are ready to go to sleep, try to keep your bedroom completely dark.
5. To minimize early waking, try to postpone the evening meal until after dusk and schedule some kind of stimulating activity in the early evening.
6. If your mind is too active when you get into bed, you will not be able to fall asleep – no matter how tired you are. Learn and practice one or more relaxation techniques that can help you disengage from thoughts.
7. Consider natural sleep aids. Valerian and melatonin are both effective remedies for insomnia.
8. Determine how much sleep is optimal for you. People vary in their need for sleep, from as little as four hours a night to as much as ten. Most require seven to eight hours, but ideal amounts can change over time. You can adjust your bedtime and see how you feel after sleeping for various amounts of time, or simply note how much you slept on days that feel right.
9.If you do wake early, try to use the time productively. Read or write for an hour, then try to go back to sleep until morning. Think of the yin-yang symbol, which symbolizes harmony with a small dot of white on a black background and vice versa. Seen in from this perspective, a period of nighttime wakefulness complements your daytime nap.