Getting to Sleep

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April 2013

Tired of counting sheep only to reach number 1,000 and still be wide awake?

Everyone is different, and a 20-minute soak might not work for you. While looking around, I’ve found many other ideas worth mentioning. Here are a few that might help if you’re having trouble falling asleep.

  1. Exercise. Sometimes I have to roll my eyes when I see a suggestion like that, because it seems so obvious. Exercise during the day has been shown to help people sleep better. What might not be as obvious is that it’s not such a good idea to exercise in the evening before bedtime as it tends to rev a person up.
  2. Read before bed or listen to soothing music. Yes, both seem to help, unless the reading material or the music is too stimulating or exciting. In my experience, anything I had to read in college is great. Those beach-books, Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child…not so much.
  3. Maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time on weekdays and weekends. Your Circadian rhythm becomes better established if you maintain a regular sleep cycle.
  4. Create an environment that’s conducive to sleep…dark, quiet and cool.
  5. Use your bed for what it’s intended. Avoid watching TV, working on the computer or eating soda crackers in bed. Using your bed for sleep creates a habit that your body and mind respond to by falling asleep easier.
  6. Avoid eating right before bedtime.
  7. Avoid drinking fluids before bed so that you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night.
  8. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bed. All of them cause sleep disruptions.

And don’t forget the warm, relaxing soak in the hot tub. It really helps prepare you to fall asleep.

If you’ve tried these suggestions and nothing seems to work, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Sleep deprivation causes too many problems in a person’s daily life to go untreated.

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