Sleep and Restless Legs Syndrome
Millions of people around the world have trouble falling and staying asleep. You don't have to live a lack of sleep, tossing and turning through the night, waking up too early, or not feeling refreshed in the morning. Barring a sleep disorder or irrelevant medical condition, you should be able to improve your sleeping habits with some simple lifestyle changes.
Choose the Right Foods
There are foods that help you sleep. Some examples of ideal snacks to promote sleep include: banana, chamomile tea, half a peanut butter sandwich, half a turkey sandwich, warm milk. It's a good idea to eat dinner earlier in the evening, too. There are foods that disrupt your sleep. You should avoid these foods if you would like to uninterrupted sleep: acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, coffee, fatty foods, rich foods, spicy foods, sugary foods, tea, and too many liquids. You may see your favorite food as one to avoid. Before you jump to conclusions, eliminate it for a few days to see if you notice any improvement. If not, put it back in your diet and keep a close eye on your sleeping patterns.
Improve Your Habits
Here are some ideas to incorporate into your life.
- When you get up, open the shades to let the light in. If possible, go outdoors. Your body responds to light.
- Don't nap throughout the day. If you must sleep through the day, limit your rest time to less than 30 minutes.
- Exercise regularly. Yoga and stretching are perfect recommendations if you're just beginning an exercise program.
- Stop smoking. The nicotine found in your favorite cigarette is a stimulant. Did you know your body actually goes through withdrawal during the night? Stop smoking.
Create The Perfect Bedtime Environment
- Make sure your bed and bedding are comfortable and supportive. Make any necessary adjustments.
- Move the television out of your bedroom.
- Shut out all noise. If you find you need a little background noise, try a fan. Ear plugs would be another option.
- Keep your room well-ventilated and set at a comfortable temperature.
- Reserve your bed for bedtime. Don't work on your computer or balance your checkbook on your bed. Train your brain that your body sleeps on your bed.
Create The Perfect Bedtime Routine
- Don't watch television shows or movies that will create anxiety or stress.
- Forget about work. Forget about your responsibilities. Forget about tomorrows chores. If you need to, write a short list of those things you need address tomorrow, but don't dwell on them as you prepare for bed.
- Incorporate relaxation techniques just before you go to bed.
- Develop a regular bed time. Train your body when it's time to go to bed and when it's time to rise.
- Keep your bedroom dark during bedtime.
- Wind down with soft music, light reading, a favorite hobby, or listen to your favorite book on audio tape.
What To Do When You Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night
- Your goal is to tell your body it's time to sleep.
- Stay relaxed.
- Think calm, restful thoughts.
- Counting sheep works because if occupies your mind into a repetitive activity without stimulation.
- If, after 15 minutes, these techniques don't work, get out of bed and participate in a quiet activity. Don't turn your light on. Perhaps a light snack or cup of tea would help.
Restless Legs Syndrome is not the only reason you may be unable to sleep. For example, if you're going through menopause, sleepless nights could result. Don't self-diagnose your symptoms. See your health care professional. The two of you will be able to create a plan that will work for you. Sweet dreams.