12 Secrets to a Deeper Sleep
Tired of being tired all the time? Take a few tips from these 12 experts: Each has a unique prescription for a deeper sleep.
Want a deeper sleep? Start by banning gadgets from the bedroom
“Keep computers, TVs and other gadgets out of the bedroom. They’re distracting and the blue light emitted from screens and monitors will disrupt melatonin production and interfere with sleep.” —Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, naturopathic doctor and educator in Ancaster, Ontario
Turn the lights down before bedtime
“Bright light stimulates wakefulness. Use dim lighting as bedtime approaches, and if you have to get up in the night use a small flashlight or low-wattage light. Similarly, use low light if you are reading in bed.” —Margo Fraser, M.Sc, CCPE, executive director of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists
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Use familiar scents to get a deeper sleep
“Any new smell, even one associated with relaxation like lavender, can make you more alert. You’re better off with a scent that makes you feel safe and comfortable. There really is something to be said for cuddling up with your spouse’s undershirt.” —Pamela Dalton, PhD, odour-perception expert and sensory psychologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Consider changing mattresses for a deeper sleep
“You don’t need an expensive mattress or one with space-age bells and whistles. There’s only one good study on mattresses, and it confirmed the Goldilocks theory: Most people prefer a mattress that’s not too hard and not too soft.” —Andrew Hecht, MD, orthopedic surgeon and co-chief of spine surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York
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Check the label before taking a pain reliever at bedtime
“A lot of people take bedtime pain relievers that contain caffeine and don’t even realize it. Excedrin has 65 milligrams of caffeine per tablet—if you take two, that’s as much as a cup of coffee. Check the label.” —Jan Engle, professor of pharmacy at the College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago
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Turn on a fan
“A lot of dogs are very sensitive to noises outside, like other dogs barking or neighbours coming home late. A white-noise machine or fan will drown out the noises that are keeping your pet up, which will keep your pet from waking you.” —Tracey Schowalter, pet-training consultant at Puppy Adept in Gainesville, Georgia
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Is sharing a bed preventing you from getting a deeper sleep?
“One of the biggest disrupters of sleep is the pulling and tugging of sheets and blankets. I tell couples that each person should have their own sheets. Later they call me to say, ‘Wow, you changed our marriage.'” —Robert Oexman, chiropractor and director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, Missouri
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Communicate with your sleeping partner
“For a man, how he slept the night before predicts the quality of his interactions with his spouse the next day. For a woman, how she interacted with her spouse that day affects how she’ll sleep that night.” —Wendy M. Troxel, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Sleep Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Trouble sleeping? Switch to a feather pillow
“If you have allergies, you’re probably better off with a feather pillow, which is more likely to be encased in a tightly woven fabric that keeps dust mites out. Relatively few people are allergic to feathers, whereas foam can exacerbate allergies because of its moisture content.” —James Sublett, chief of pediatric allergy at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Kentucky
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Have a cup of tea
“Chamomile tea is gently relaxing, safe even for children. Skullcap, California poppy and valerian are stronger remedies for insomnia. There is a pharmacy in your backyard.” —Chanchal Cabrera, medical herbalist in Courtenay, British Columbia
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The secret to a deeper sleep? Treat your feet
“Try soaking your feet in cold water, perhaps with some Epsom salts or bath oils. Dry your feet vigorously with a towel and give them a massage. This will stimulate the 72,000 nerve endings in your feet and help your nervous system relax.” —Brenda Brizuela, holistic practitioner and owner of Jaguar Spirit massage studio, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
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Can’t sleep? Practise deep breathing
“If the breath is calm, so goes the mind. While lying in bed, try practicing a relaxing breath ratio for two minutes—inhale for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, pause for four seconds and repeat.” —Ante Pavlovic, yoga therapist & instructor, Toronto
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