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13 Tips for Better Sleep

Posted Aug 02 2010 2:58am

Are you getting enough sleep? Most of us aren’t because it keeps falling lower on our priority lists in this fast pace society we have adopted. Problem is that the lower it falls on our packed to do lists the more it affects our health status. Studies find that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, to develop diabetes, and to prefer eating foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates. The results of these studies are the reason that Sleep is one of the components in The Healthy Lifestyle Approach. Like proper nutrition and being physically active, getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your well-being. If you are looking to achieve your fitness and weight management goals it is important that you are getting enough, otherwise your hard work isn’t going to get you far.

To get back on track with sleep keep reading for 13 Tips to help you get the recommended 7-8 hours that you need.

  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine. The stimulating effects of caffeine in coffee, colas, teas, and chocolate can take as long as 8 hours to wear off fully. Nicotine is also a stimulant.
  • Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep, such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or a TV or computer in the bedroom. Also, keeping the temperature in your bedroom on the cool side can help you sleep better.
  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day-even on the weekends.
  • Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep, if possible. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Exercise is great but not too late in the day. Avoid exercising closer than 5 or 6 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. A “nightcap” might help you get to sleep, but alcohol keeps you in the lights stages of sleep. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the sedating effects have worn off.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up and so some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A large meal can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause you to awaken frequently to urinate.
  • Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can boost your brain power, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Also keep naps to under an hour.
  • Relax before bed. Take time to unwind. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual.
  • Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help relax you.
  • See a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping. If you consistently find yourself feeling tired or not well rested during the day despite spending enough time in bed at night, you may have a sleep disorder. Your family doctor or a sleep specialist should be able to help you.
  • What tips do you have for getting enough sleep?
  • How often do you get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep?

Quote of the Day: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. ~ Benjamin Franklin

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