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5 Keys to Better Sleep
by: Patricia Wagner
Do you have trouble getting a good night's sleep?
What you are about to read may make a huge difference to your future health! Being well rested is essential to our wellbeing and is a major key in living an energetic lifestyle.
Here are some of the benefits of a good night's sleep:
- You will look and feel your best.
- Relating to others will come easier with enough rest.
- You'll be a safer driver and be less likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
- More alertness and creativity on the job will be a major benefit.
- You'll feel less stressed.
- There'll be an increased ability to fight off illness.
- You'll enjoy life more.
Here are some keys to getting a better night's sleep:
1. Set your body clock.
Choose a bedtime schedule by deciding how many hours of shut-eye you need and try to stick with it. That's because we are all creatures of habit.
Try not to oversleep too often because this tends to throw your body clock off. If you are tired, try taking a short nap. However, it should not be longer than about one half an hour because more time than that and you will wind up not being able to fall asleep that night.
2. Be wise about eating and drinking.
Drinking too much fluid in the late afternoon and evening can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to trot off to the bathroom. Also consuming food and beverages that contain caffeine before bedtime can cause you to toss and turn for hours. So it would be wise to avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate before going to bed. However, a hot non-caffeinated drink can relax you.
3. Prepare your sleeping environment.
You have control over a number of factors in your sleeping environment that will make or break a good night's sleep.
One of them is the temperature of your bedroom. Adjust the temperature of your bedroom so it's conducive to sleeping. It's usually best to have your room a little on the cool side, but be sure you have enough blankets on your bed.
Another environmental issue is the darkness of our bedrooms. Many people prefer sleeping when it's totally dark, so turn off the lights except for night lights.
A key bedroom environment factor is your bed. Purchase the best mattress you can afford since you'll spend a large proportion of your life on it.
Quietness is very important to our rest. Try to keep the noise down. If that's impossible, consider using ear plugs. Play calming music and avoid watching television just before bedtime. Violent scenes can lead to sleeplessness and violent dreams!
Design your bedroom to be a peaceful sanctuary in your home. Separate your work from the bedroom area so your body knows the bedroom is a place to rest - not work.
4. Prepare yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually for bedtime.
There are a number of steps you can take before going to bed to prepare yourself physically. Slowly stretching before hitting the sack can help you relax. Regular exercise during the day will enhance your ability to fall asleep. Taking a warm bath - not a shower - can be helpful too. If you are still tense, a back massage can help you relax. Wear comfortable nonbinding clothing.
Here's the most important thing you can do once you've hit the sack - let go of the day's worries. Bedtime is a bad time to dwell on problems since worry can keep you tossing and turning for hours! I've found that reading the Bible and praying before going to bed is a wonderful way to end the day. Then I can truly relax and lay down my problems. My sleep is much sweeter and so are my dreams!
5. Seek specialized help if needed.
A medical condition could be preventing you from getting your full rest at night. See your doctor if you have continuing difficulty with falling asleep. Usually it's not wise to take sleeping pills since they can become addictive. They also interfere with the body's own inner sleeping rhythm.
Here are three organizations that offer specialized help:
National Sleep Foundation http://www.sleepfoundation.org/about.cfm
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine http://www.aasmnet.org/
National Center on Sleep Disorders Research http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/ncsdr/index.htm
The suggestions in this article have been listed to help you get a better night's sleep. Now try putting them into practice and enjoy a more rested and energetic lifestyle.
Copyright ©2004 by Patricia Wagner
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