16 uncommon tips to get better sleep

MANILA, Philippines - Are you aware of the good sleep, sleep deprivation and its effect to your health and career?

16 uncommon tips to get better sleep

Medical experts say that pushing late into the night is a health and productivity killer. Sleep deprivation has a serious effects on your mood, ability to focus, and access to higher-level brain functions for days to come.

Sleep is good for the brain. Study found that when you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep. So when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.

How you feel during your waking hours results greatly on how well you sleep. The cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine. Your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, and day-to-day lifestyle choices.

National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours per night of sleep for most adults. A better definition would include sleep quality and efficiency, instead of hours in bed.

Popular cardiologist and internist in the Philippines Dr. Willie Ong released on his Facebook page the top 16 uncommon tips on how we can have a better sleep.

Ong highlights some tips that we may already know such as to maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule (go to bed at the same time each night), maintain a healthy diet, have a regular exercise schedule, avoid or minimize the use of caffeine, especially in the afternoon, avoid alcohol which may help you doze off but increases early morning awakenings, and avoid smoking.


1. No mental work after 6 p.m. If you find yourself rummaging in the day’s garbage and stressed at night, then avoid any heated meetings, excitable conversations, long-term planning at night.

2. Turn off your mind. Now, this differs for every person. Some individuals watch TV to relax their minds. Some exercise. Others play with the kids. Some read entertainment magazines or comics. Whatever relaxes you, just do it.

3. Turn around the clocks. Lessen the pressure of sleeping by not looking at or knowing the time. Replace noisy clocks or those that say cuckoo every 30 minutes. You don’t want to get reminded that you aren’t sleeping yet.

4. Don’t schedule an early morning meeting. Knowing and anticipating an early meeting can make it hard for you to sleep. That’s called anticipation anxiety and it’s normal behavior.

5. Make your bedroom a sleep haven. Is the neighbor’s dog too noisy? Can you hear the irritated bus driver blowing his horn? Does the sunlight wake you up at 5 a.m.? Try to correct these “sleep botherers” by placing a darker curtain, installing air conditioning, and making your room more soundproof.

6. Invest in a good mattress and comfortable pillows and blankets. Buy adjuncts like a mosquito net, earplugs, eye pads, and a quiet electric fan (let it swing and not blow on you steadily).

7. Your bedroom is for sleep only. According to Dr. Christine Rhea S. Igna, your bedroom is not the place where you think of your plans, your problems, and unpaid bills. When you go to sleep, try not to anticipate your future events. Deliberately put them on hold.

8. Take a light snack or warm drink one to two hours before bedtime. Chamomile tea is an effective relaxation drink. It calms the bowels and smells wonderful, too. For some people, milk and cookies, hot soup or a banana help them sleep. Bananas have tryptophan and carbohydrates induce the brain to produce serotonin. Both are sleep inducers. And you can’t sleep if you’re hungry.

9. Try supplements. According to infectious disease specialist Dr. Rebecca Castillo, melatonin can not only induce sleep but also boost the immune system with its antioxidant properties. Vitamin B complex (the so-called “stress tablets”) helps you sleep, too. Studies also show that the herb valerian can enhance sleep similar to valium. But don’t take them all at the same time. Just try which one works for you.

10. Use sleeping pills only occasionally. According to Dr. Lemual Tocjayao, internist and alternative medicine specialist, sleeping pills are habit-forming and addicting. And their effect wears off if you take them daily. Try natural methods first and just use them as a safety net.

11. Make your body tired. As the Bible says, “The sleep of a laborer is sweet, but the rich man tosses and turns at night.” I find that I sleep better when I’ve done a lot of manual work during the day (not mental work). When your body is physically tired, you’ll fall asleep sooner. Resist napping in the afternoon because it will decrease your nighttime sleep.

12. Meditation, relaxation, soft music, massage, and a warm bath. That sounds so great, but the problem is getting a free masseuse. For couples, try to alternately massage each other, — foot massage, neck massage, and back massage.

13. Just lie down. When all else fails, just lie down and do nothing. You can think of something unimportant and trivial. For me, two hours of lying down are equivalent to one hour of sleep. Your body muscles will still be relaxed.

14. Count your blessings instead of sheep. Inspirational guru Norman Vincent Peale advises those who can’t sleep to pray for everyone they know. I’ve followed his tip and it’s very effective and relaxing, too. When I’m all excited and can’t sleep, I just use the time to pray for others and ask God to send them good tidings. Start with your immediate family, then your friends, your acquaintances.

15. Pray the rosary. An alternative to praying for others is to mentally pray the rosary. I usually doze off by the third decade. And if I finish the whole rosary, then I just start all over again.

16. Give your problems to God. Offer your insomnia to Him. Here’s one man’s nightly prayer: “Lord, we’ve had a good day today, I’ve had some tough decisions, but I know that you are with me. I will sleep now, but I know you’ll be there to protect me and my loved ones. I leave all my worries and concerns to you, Lord. And when I wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready, I’ll be able to do your work for me, Lord. Amen.”

Do you have something to add in this list? Tell us in the comment section below.

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