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Tips for Better Sleeping

Some people feel that getting enough sleep is a luxury. It is not. It is a necessity.

Sleep deprivation impairs memory, reaction time and alertness. Tired people are less productive at work, less patient with others, and less interactive in relationships.

Review these tips to help you acquire a regular, healthy, sleeping routine.

  • Most people need between 7.5 to 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you want to press the snooze alarm in the morning, you are not getting the sleep you need. This could be due to not enough time in bed, external disturbances, or a sleep disorder.
  • When you are ready to go to bed, lie on your back and relax each muscle. Visualize various parts of your body relaxing.
  • Take a hot shower or bath before bed to relax tense muscles.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day.
  • Do not linger in bed when you awake. Instead, get up right away and start your morning routine.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Stay away from stimulants like caffeine. Avoid all stimulants in the evening, including chocolate, caffeinated sodas, and caffeintated teas. They will delay sleep and increase arousal during the night.
  • Use the bed just for sleeping. Avoid watching TV, using laptop computers, or reading in bed. Bright light from these activities and subject matter may inhibit sleep. If it helps to read before sleep, make sure you use a very small wattage bulb to read. A 15-watt bulb should be enough.
  • Avoid bright light around the house before bed. Using dimmer switches in living rooms and bathrooms before bed can be helpful.
  • Don't stress if you feel you are not getting enough sleep. It will just make matters worse. Know you will sleep eventually.
  • Do some sort of physical activity every day, but avoid exercise near bedtime. No exercise at least 3 hours before bed.
  • Don't go to bed hungry, have a light snack, but avoid a heavy meal before bed.
  • Avoid eating too much salt with your dinner and in any after-dinner snacks.
  • Try eating snacks high in calcium and protein before retiring. Small amounts of cheese and nuts contain Tryptophan, an amino acid which promotes sleep.
  • Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night. It can cause anxiety.
  • If you can't get to sleep for over 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light till you are sleepy.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature. The optimum temperature is 60 to 64 degrees F. Try sleeping in warmer nightclothes and wear socks. Studies show that warm hands and feet induce sleep quickly.
  • If you have problems with noise in your environment, you can use a white noise generator. A fan will work.
  • Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but it will cause you to wake up throughout the night. Avoid both alcohol and smoking at least two hours prior to bedtime.
  • Check the medicines you are taking to see that they aren't nervous system stimulants.
  • If you have a sleeping partner, ask him/her to notice if you snore, move your legs or stop breathing at intervals. If any apply, you should speak to your doctor about a possible sleeping disorder.


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