What can I do to sleep better throughout the night?

What can I do to sleep better throughout the night?

  1. Switch from regular coffee to decaf coffee. The beneficial effects are identical, but the lack of caffeine makes you sleep better. 
  2. Cut out alcohol for a period of time. It may take you 3 nights to recover your regular sleep pattern. Alcohol does interfere with your sleep pattern, but the effect is subtle.
  3. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. If possible, leave your iPhone and other electronic gadgets in the kitchen (far away from the bedroom) for re-charging.
  4. Have some down time 1 to 2 hours before you sleep. With that I mean to have a conversation or read a book. But avoid watching the news on TV or on your iPad. Anything that gets you going stimulates a stress response, which releases cortisol from your adrenal glands. Cortisol is the natural opponent of melatonin. If cortisol goes up, melatonin goes down. This translates into problems falling asleep and sleeping through.
  5. The best time to go to sleep is between 10 PM and 11 PM. Sleep for 7 to 8 hours. This rhythm fits into the diurnal hormone rhythm. It is particularly important to note that the nightly human growth hormone (HGH) peak is between midnight and 3 AM. During this time in the night you have your deepest sleep and this is when HGH is released. In adults HGH has nothing to do with bone growth anymore. Instead it gives us energy for the following day, stamina, maintains our muscle strength, keeps the skin in the face wrinkle-free and keeps the thickness of the skin as long as possible. Beyond the age of 60 deficiencies in HGH are common. Have your doctor order an IGF-1 blood tests, because this is closely related to normal HGH production.
  6. There are commercial relaxation tapes/discs available. You may want to look for one on insomnia (sleep problems). Listen to this when you are already in bed (low volume). Typically you will fall asleep 10 to 15 minutes into the relaxation tape/disc.
  7. If all this fails, it is time to take 3 mg of melatonin 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime. If this alone does not quite do the trick, add 500 mg of valerian. This is an herb that relaxes you and makes you sleepy. If you wake up in the middle of the night you can take both again. The effect of melatonin/valerian lasts only 3 to 4 hours, so you will likely have no hangover in the morning.
  8. A regular exercise program has been noted to improve sleeping patterns. 

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