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Get a Better Nights Sleep.

Posted Feb 10 2009 10:21am
Here is a great reason for couch potatoes to get off the couch and get moving. In a recent study of 101 women over 55 researchers comparing the sleep quality of physically active women to sedentary women, researchers found that the physically active women averaged 2.5 extra hours of quality sleep each night over 30 days.

It seems that the aging process leads to changes in sleep with a negative impact on the quality of life. Sleep is an important marker of quality of life and the relationship between physical exercise and sleep conditions has been the subject of various scientific studies, suggesting that the elderly who practice physical exercise had fewer sleeping problems.

Check out our related article about managing your menopausal symptoms through diet and exercise for a greater understanding of life style changes that all menopausal women should make.

Whether your sleep issues are due to menopause, Andropause, anxiety or any other reason, below are some sleep tips to help you get a good night's rest.

• Establish a regular bedtime and waking time. Stick to this schedule even on weekends and during vacations.

• Use the bed for sleep and sexual relations only, not for reading, watching television, or working. Excessive time in bed disrupts sleep.

• Avoid naps, especially in the evening.

• Exercise before dinner. A low point in energy occurs a few hours after exercise; sleep will then come more easily. Exercising close to bedtime, however, may increase alertness. The only exception is restorative yoga which has proven to improve sleep if done just before bedtime.

• Take a hot bath about 1.5 - 2 hours before bedtime. This alters the body's core temperature rhythm and helps people fall asleep more easily and more continuously. If you suffer from night sweats, skip this one.

• Do something relaxing in the 30 minutes before bedtime. Reading, meditation, yoga or a leisurely walk are all appropriate activities.

• Keep the bedroom relatively cool and well ventilated.

• Do not look at the clock. Obsessing over time will just make it more difficult to sleep.

• Eat light meals and schedule dinner 4 - 5 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bedtime can help sleep, but a large meal may have the opposite effect.

• Spend a half hour in the sun each day. The best time is early in the day. Take precautions against overexposure to sunlight by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen.

• Avoid fluids just before bedtime so that sleep is not disturbed by the need to urinate.

• Avoid caffeine in the hours before sleep.

• If one is still awake after 15 - 20 minutes, go into another room, read or do a quiet activity using dim lighting until feeling very sleepy. Don't watch television or use bright lights.

• If distracted by a sleeping bed partner, moving to the couch or a spare bed for a couple of nights might be helpful.

• If a specific worry is keeping one awake, thinking of the problem in terms of images rather than in words may allow a person to fall asleep more quickly and to wake up with less anxiety.
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