How to get more sleep in your busy schedule

Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 9:49pm

Being in college, you don’t seem to get as much sleep as you used to. Either that or you just can’t seem to function with the same amount of hours of sleep as you did in high school.

How can you get more sleep? How can you sleep more soundly? What can make you relax so you can fall asleep faster?

A Woman’s Day article, titled “Tips for Sleeping Better,” states, “Get as much (or as little) as you need to feel well-rested. Most adults typically need between seven and nine hours, but everyone’s needs vary.”

However, if you’re good with only six to seven hours of sleep, but you stay in your bed for eight or nine, “You could be setting yourself up for insomnia,” says Shelby Freedman Harris, PsyD, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

An article by Linda Dessau in Ezine Articles stated, “The simplest way to tell if you’re getting enough [sleep] is by noticing every morning – do you feel rested? Do you wake up without an alarm clock and feel ready to get right out of bed and start the day?”

One of the tips Dessau said on how to get a good night’s sleep is: set the stage. “Turn off the computer and television at least one hour before you’d like to fall asleep, and turn on some music that you find relaxing.”

Some of the types of music she advises to listen to are music without words and music with natural “breaths.” This means music where the soloist takes natural pauses to breathe; it can help you to slow down your own breath.

Another tip Dessau gives is, if you find your mind is racing when you are trying to sleep, picture a viewpoint where you are traveling down a road and you see your thoughts as signposts that you are passing. Concentrate on letting them pass you right by.

If doing things in a more natural way is the way your cookie crumbles, Sarah Jio wrote an article for Shine, from Yahoo!, and gave 10 all-natural ways to get a better night’s sleep.

The first Jio mentions is melatonin. “This natural hormone, which is made by the body’s pineal gland, is available over the counter, and many health experts say it can safely help you get drowsy before bed (it may even have immune-stimulating and antioxidant benefits, too).”

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, an internist and the author of From Fatigued to Fantastic!, said, “High levels of melatonin may raise the level of another hormone, prolactin, aggravating the risk of depression or infertility.” It’s best to get your doctor’s OK first.

“Total Darkness” was another tip Jio said could help. “Researchers have long known that too much light can affect your sleep cycles, disrupting restful sleep . . . try to avoid falling asleep with lamps or even bright nightlights on; and consider investing in blackout shades . . . which can eliminate outside lights better than blinds or curtains.”

Aromatherapy is another way that can help get you to sleep. “Many essential oils not only help you fall asleep quickly, they also induce a higher quality of sleep,” said Cher Kore, a Boston-based professional aromatherapist and instructor. “The best method is to put two to three drops of essential oils on your pillow, under the pillowcase.” Try to refresh the drops on your pillow every so often: every few days to once a week or about as often as you wash your sheets.

There are many other ways to help get a better night’s sleep. Try some of these out and explore other options as well.

Filed under: lifestyles