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Tired of Counting Sheep? Here’s 5 Tips to Help You Sleep

Sleep is a necessity, but if you’re anything like me, it doesn’t come easily. It seems so simple when you think about it; lie down, close your eyes, wake up about 8 hours later. Regardless, many of us still struggle with sleep. Some of us struggle to fall asleep, while others can’t stay asleep. Then there are those of us who always wake up tired. If you fall into any of these categories, I’ve got some sleeping tips for you: 

Exercise regularly, but not before bed:

Exercise can actually improve your sleep. A study done by PubMed Central found that in older adults, exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep. Exercise is even used to reduce symptoms of insomnia. However, you don’t want to exercise too close to bedtime because exercise actually stimulates the brain. It will make you more alert and energetic.

Don’t drink any liquids before you sleep:

Waking up in the middle of the night to pee really sucks. All that work you went through to fall asleep goes out the window, because you’re now wide awake again. This kind of excessive night time urination is called Nocturia. It usually happens because you’re drinking fluids 1-2 hours before bed. It’s important to stay hydrated, but try to get all your water in a few hours before bedtime.

Check your thermostat:

Body and room temperature play a huge part in sleep. One study even found that it affects sleep quality more than external noise. Ever tried to sleep in the summer with no air conditioning? It’s really hard, you feel all hot, sweaty, and gross. You keep tossing and turning hoping to find a cool spot of the bed to rest on. Save your sleep by adjusting the thermostat before you go to bed. My condolences to those of you without air conditioning, I see you, I have felt your pain.

 Skip that late night glass of wine:

Some people may think that drinking alcohol helps you fall asleep, but it actually can cause a lot of sleep issues. Symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns can all be caused or increased by alcohol. It can even affect your production of melatonin which in turn affects your body’s sleep-wake cycle, also known as your circadian rhythm.

 Talk to your doctor:

There are a lot of reasons people have trouble sleeping. Sometimes you just need to change your behaviour or atmosphere, and sometimes there is something else going on. If you’ve tried to change your habits and you still can’t sleep, get off WebMD and talk to your doctor. This way you can rule out sleeping disorders as a cause of your problems.

Next time you’re having trouble sleeping, check out this list. A few small adjustments to your lifestyle could be all you need to get a good night’s rest. Goodnight, sweet dreams, and I hope you get that quality sleep your body craves.

References https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#14.-Rule-out-a-sleep-disorder  

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Lydia Kifle

Waterloo '23

Lydia Kifle (she/her) is a Business and Communication Studies student at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about learning ways to combat social issues. In her free time she enjoys writing stories and engaging in all kinds of creative expression.
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