By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2015-05-16 04:44:30 -0500
Started 2012-06-13 19:01:56 -0500

Doing the toss-and-turn samba in bed lately? Here are 7 habits for a more peaceful slumber.

1. Make your drinks caffeine free after lunch. Caffeine lingers in your system for up to 12 hours, so that after-lunch coffee can leave you wide-eyed at bedtime. Switch to decaf after mid-morning, and try chamomile tea or warm milk in the evening. Both will help you get your ZZZs.

2. Eat lightly at night. Large dinners take hours to digest, making it hard to fall asleep. Make breakfast or lunch your main meal of the day, and limit dinner to fewer than 500 calories. While you're at it, skip spicy foods and MSG for less heartburn, indigestion, and too-vivid dreams.

3. Work out early in the day. Regular workouts can help you sleep better, but exercising within 3 to 4 hours of bedtime can actually mess with sleep. Shoot for morning, afternoon, or early evening workouts. Walk during the day, sleep better at night.

4. Have a cup of tea or glass of milk, but skip the nightcap. Alcohol pulls a bait-and-switch when it comes to sleep. It makes you drowsy so you nod off, then it makes you wakeful and restless throughout the night. Skip alcohol within 2 hours of bedtime.

5. Have a quieting bedtime ritual where you can read, bathe, or listen to music. But turn off the TV and the computer(s). Glowing screens from electronics, such as TV, computers, and even your e-reader, signal your brain to stay alert. Power down an hour before bed.

6. Kick the nicotine habit. Like caffeine and alcohol, nicotine is a stimulant.

7. Use the bedroom for sex and sleep only. Don't work in bed. The stress of going over spreadsheets and other work-related tasks makes it harder to fall asleep. If you work on your laptop, you're getting a double-whammy of stimulation of work stress and being in front of a glowing screen.

44 replies

Setzer 2012-06-15 15:17:36 -0500 Report

I usually am talking to my girlfriend and playing video games with her for the last few hours before I go to bed. Lights on, tv on, computer on, drinking coke/ ice tea. I guess that only works for me because it's what I've been doing for so long. Plus I don't sleep everyday anyway, maybe every 2 or 3 days. Even then it's only for 2 or maybe 3 hours if I'm lucky.

Controlled 2012-06-15 15:32:31 -0500 Report

Sounds like you have pretty serious trouble sleeping. I do too. It's so interesting how many of us struggle with that. I've tried yoga, exercise (but not too late or it has the opposite effect), reading, melatonin and about everything else. I don't like admitting this, but the only thing that works for me is prescribed sleeping pills. I'm aware of all that comes with that, but sometimes you have to solve one problem at a time.

We all know, sleep is medicine. We also know what the lack of sleep means. I'm really interested in the rituals we go to just to find sleep.

Caroltoo 2012-06-16 00:45:14 -0500 Report

Some of those rituals show up in the remainder of the discussion already of the page. You might want to read through the whole thing. I've had my times when it seemed like Rx was the only way to go. Am, thankfully, past that now, but have a better idea of what to watch for as I go back to work as I don't want to return to that situation. It was just too tough to get control of and I'm still not fully aware of what I did to change it.

Caroltoo 2012-06-17 23:18:44 -0500 Report

I don't use one, so I'm a little out of my area of expertise here. I was over on Sleep Connect a few weeks ago and there was an article about someone with a similar problem because their mask was improperly fitted. They were surprised to discover this because it had been fitted professionally when they got it, but something was still wrong with the fit. Is this a possibility?

pixsidust 2012-06-14 22:11:11 -0500 Report

I also have to have white noise. I am in varying degrees of pain at night If I have had a busy day then I am usually in so much pain that I feel like I have been in a car accident. A busy day for me may not be for someone else. I do have to spend time as the article suggest to relax a while first. I massage aching muscles and place ice or heat on the places with the most pain…thats every night. My a1c is 6.3. Not the best or worse. I pray for the sleep made elusive by neuropathy. Tonight my fingers really hurt and I woke up with them feeling crippled. If I can nap I take it because I never know how long I will sleep before the pain wakes me at night

calayx 2015-05-16 04:44:30 -0500 Report

I also need white noise at night to get me through. I have neuropathy in my feet. The pain can be unbearable at times. I take 600mg tab of GABAPENTIN every six hours. It works wonders…no pain!!

Caroltoo 2012-06-15 09:01:36 -0500 Report

Pain does keep us awake, for sure! I also find that when it's not quite pain, but a real sense of tightness, it also interfers with my sleep.

pixsidust 2012-06-15 09:06:23 -0500 Report

I lay on pillows and 7 inches of memory foam on top of my mattress
I feel like the princess on the pea. I am so tender. Where do you feel your tightness?

Caroltoo 2012-06-15 09:25:31 -0500 Report

Usually whatever muscle group I've been using most, but much of the chronic tension tends to be between the shoulder blades in close to my spine. I've recently started strength training in this area. Longterm, I think it will be helpful; short term, it hurts.

7 inches of memory foam: maybe we should rewrite the Princess and the Pea as Pixsi's story! That really sounds nice and comfortable. One of these days, when I need to replace my mattress, I will also get a memory foam. Have wanted to for some time now.

pixsidust 2012-06-15 13:56:13 -0500 Report

Memory foam is very hot. Look for some of the new stuff thats out like a gel mattress that might be cooler or a sleep number one with air. You might do some research on temperatures when you do is all

pixsidust 2012-06-15 22:26:18 -0500 Report

You being so cold blooded you might not notice but I have an inner furnace. I sink into the foam somewhat and the foam is hot to be "in"

jayabee52 2012-06-15 11:45:02 -0500 Report

I have one of those and it is wonderful! Jem's mom got it for us as a wedding gift before we were even married!

Nick1962 2012-06-14 18:39:33 -0500 Report

I have to have some form of white noise. I used to use a radio real low, but wife didn't like that. Since she's "at that age" she has a small personal fan on her nightstand. i can fall asleep in seconds with that on. Usually though, once I'm up (for whatever reason) I'm up for good.

Caroltoo 2012-06-14 20:16:24 -0500 Report

I do that some evenings to calm me as I prepare for sleep, others to allow me to leave the windows open while sleeping without having to hear car doors and conversations. My favorite is Peter Kater's "Water" of "Fire". Both are an hour in length and set it to recycle all night.

jayabee52 2012-06-14 20:21:47 -0500 Report

I have a fancy sound machine from Brookstone, but I rarely use it.

I can set it to rain drops, wind in the forest, waves breaking on the beach. and several other settings. My ex kept the one we had together so I replaced it with this. But now I rarely use it.

Caroltoo 2012-06-14 20:24:48 -0500 Report

Sounds like a nice one. Give Suzy the option of trying it out. Who knows, James, maybe one of you snores.

jayabee52 2012-06-14 20:43:01 -0500 Report

She said she snores but in the 2 or 3 days I was there I didn't hear it. She said she didn't hear me snore either. But I will suggest she might want to use it when we get to that point.

old biker
old biker 2012-06-14 15:41:09 -0500 Report

Here are two more tips..Form a routine if possible, retire and arise at the same time each day..and 2 cut out the afternoon nap if you take one.
I am another one of those people who has no problem falling asleep..I only need 6 hrs of sleep..It doesn't matter what I eat, drink, or do right before I call it quits for the night..with in ten minutes of closing my eyes I'm asleep

Caroltoo 2012-06-14 15:42:55 -0500 Report

Lucky you! Sounds like those 6 hours must be really sound and refreshing!

old biker
old biker 2012-06-14 16:02:11 -0500 Report

Not realy..some nights I wake up every 2 hrs some nights once..But at 6 am I am up..I take my nightly shot at 11:00 pm fix something to eat, might read for awhile' light goes out at 12:00..12:10 am asleep

Caroltoo 2012-06-14 16:11:12 -0500 Report

Oh, sorry. I'm up early too … love to watch the sunrise with my cup of coffee. My problem is when I wake up during the night, I find it hard to get back to sleep. I've had just enough rest so the mind starts working.

Nana_anna 2012-06-14 15:33:42 -0500 Report

My sleep apnea doesn't help much. I used to sleep without any problems until that came along!

Caroltoo 2012-06-14 15:37:05 -0500 Report

Very true. Do you use the CPAP or some other treatment?

Nana_anna 2012-06-14 15:39:31 -0500 Report

I do use the CPAP machine, it does wonders! I love it!

Caroltoo 2012-06-14 15:45:18 -0500 Report

Great … a success. Some of my reading indicates that sleep deprivation is also related to weight gain (in addition to weight gain sometimes causing or aggravating sleep apnea). Maybe this will begin to help with your weight loss project also. We can hope, at least, cause I know that's important to you.

dietcherry 2012-06-14 13:35:55 -0500 Report

I am extremely blessed in that I can fall asleep within a couple of minutes of shutting my eyes! My entire family is like this, much to the envy of spouses/significant others who toss and turn! teehee

Caroltoo 2012-06-14 13:37:54 -0500 Report

You are indeed among the blessed. My husband has that ability also … sometimes mid-sentence, much to my annoyance. I'd would lay there and observe him with envy sometimes.

dietcherry 2012-06-14 16:00:30 -0500 Report

Im one of those who experiences "sleep starts" which means my whole body jerks a few minutes after falling asleep. It used to drive my ex-husband insane cause he claimed I would jerk so violently that he was forced to stay awake until after it happened; only then could he relax enough to fall asleep! You can read about it here:

It very very rarely wake me up but Ive been told its pretty startling!!!!

MAYS 2012-06-13 21:49:47 -0500 Report

Numbers 3 and 5 are my favorites which I try to practice as often as I can, unfortunately number 7 is practiced daily…some habits are hard to let go off!

Caroltoo 2012-06-13 21:53:56 -0500 Report

What do you use in your quieting bedtime ritual? I tend towards a warm relaxing bath, soft music, and a good book. Sometimes I find one that is too good and I don't want to go to sleep!

jayabee52 2012-06-13 19:39:42 -0500 Report

I don't think I'll tell you that I play spider solitaire on my laptop if I have trouble falling asleep. 15 mins of that and I am drowsy I then shut it down and climb into bed.

But you didn't hear it from me! LoL!

Caroltoo 2012-06-13 21:41:28 -0500 Report

One of my favorites also, James, and I'd be less than honest if I didn't say I do the same sometimes … I just don't do this in the bedroom and I usually read a few minutes before I really fall asleep.

I have removed all light from the bedroom and covered the clock with its bright red numbers. I did forget to add that to the list.

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